Landing Home

I was feeling lonely so
I went outside to the wind
swept yard and beyond
that to the wind-tousled outer
yard and found where last
night in the moonlight we left
two sets of boot prints, when
you stopped on your way
through the darkness to bring a
lemon bar and a movie, and
beside ours the tracks of the
smallest thing with claws, which
must have followed sometime
later. And I chased its tiny prints
and our mud-wash indents to
the far back gate and through
the gate out to where the
land is still dirt and brush
and bushes and cow
pies, my hair pinned
to my head but still blowing,
blowing, and finally a hard
breath, and I could see
through lonely to the wide
open, long blue lines of sunset,
moonlit night, the airplanes trailing
one another
down to tarmac, all those
people landing home.

~Angela Janda “At Quarter to Five” from Small Rooms with Gods.

When I walk out on our farm’s hilly fields, I’ve recently noticed more jets passing overhead than I remember in past years. They aren’t as low as I would expect for take offs and landings from Vancouver (B.C.) International Airport an hour north of us or descending for an approach to SeaTac International 100 miles to the south. They are in mid-flight mode, at least 35,000-45,000 feet above us. So I found a website that shows real-time location of flights all over the world. I can literally stand on our hill looking at a flight overhead while checking my phone to see where it has come from and where it is going. In that way, I feel linked with those people so far above me in that plane, strangers though they be.

Most of these flights are bound for Japan or Korea, coming from the east coast or midwest United States. Apparently these flights are taking a longer circuit over the Pacific Ocean to avoid going too close to Russian air space. They have a long flight ahead as they pass the coastline here in northwest Washington and over Vancouver Island. My husband and I have made that trek over the Pacific to Japan a half dozen times. I can easily imagine myself seated in the economy section, trying to keep my legs from stiffening up over 10+ hours, distracting myself watching movies on the inflight channels.

Instead of having leg cramps, I am here with my dog and farm cat leaving a trail of footprints in a frosty winter field. Above me, a plane leaves a condensation trail which blurs, fades and disappears in the evening light. I stand on a hillside at home, someone living out my days in this spot; those flying above are in transit, each with an individual story of their own. Though we are miles apart, the passengers in the plane connect with me for a brief few minutes.

It makes sense for me to pray for these people I will never meet to fly safely to their destination.

We all find our way home eventually, leaving our transient and temporary trails behind us. Surely, that home will be breathtaking and beautiful – just exactly where we belong.


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4 thoughts on “Landing Home

  1. This was beyond beautiful. Both the writing and the photos. I love your tree, years ago I pen and inked it for Inktober, so I feel like it sits on my own property in my mind. I love it in every season. Its being there is as precious to me as the thoughts of people in the sky heading home. Different levels of permanence, the tree, the woman, the dog, the sky people.

    Liked by 1 person

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