Monday, May 17, 2010

(Un)pleasant diversions ?

Monday 6 PM GMT, over the Atlantic

The pilot advised us before takeoff that, depending on the atmospheric path of the volcanic ash during the flight, we could end up landing somewhere other than Heathrow tonight. Now, as I occasionally glance at the flight path monitor during our journey, the route gradually shifts southward. Ugh. Not a good sign for a Heathrow arrival this evening. The digital plane on the monitor now points directly to southern Spain. Let's see what happens. Might be tapas for tonight's late snack rather than fish and chips. Though, BobOnARoll loves Madrid and Barcelona, so bring it on ! Hola !!


Do we need any more reminders that ours is an inter-connected globe, whole and round not just in shape but also function? A volcano in Iceland disrupts our planes and our plans. That's the part that gets the headlines. By far the larger challenge comes from a billion daily small acts of caretaking or neglect of the planet. The unnecessary extra plastic bag at the grocery store, lush green lawns at homes and golf courses in arid climates, the extra drive to the convenience store for a late night pint of ice cream or pack of cigarettes, keeping the lights on and the air conditioning blasting even when no one is home, tossing our bottles and cans and refuse into roads and rivers rather than careful disposal or recycling. Innumerable ways to change our habits to help the planet accommodate us all. I don't do nearly enough.

Volcanoes erupt and then lie dormant. But how do we live after the ash settles? I am going to be thinking about that over the next few days.


Monday 7:50 pm GMT, above the Bay of Biscay

A sharp turn to the northeast and my fantasy tour of Europe comes to an end. The digital map shows us heading directly toward London now.

For the last hour, our trajectory has been dead on toward northern France, and my mouth has literally been watering at the thought of tomorrow morning's croissants and pain aux raisins in Paris, and enjoying coffee with friends there....mmmmm. OK, well, not to be. This time.

How lucky I am. Years ago, I would have been sitting here in a semi-panic, wondering if we're going to get to my destination, and what would happen if not if not if if if.... Yes, of course I need to get to London tonight. But, if it was not meant to be, I would have been one of the happier stranded/marooned passengers American Airlines had seen in a while, though my client might not have shared that perspective.

Life can be beautiful, on any terms. The choice is ours to make.

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