Yesterday, I spent a great part of the day flying – not as I do by desire, like the birds – but in planes. I am most conscious of wonder when I am on such a trip. Everything seems clear from 35,000 feet up. From Binghamton to Los Angeles is about the farthest one can fly in the continental United States and I spent much of my time looking out the window. On the first leg of the journey just as we touched down at 6:45 a.m. in Philadelphia, there was the brilliant red-orange sun announcing a new day. Soon, as the day came to fullness, there were what looked like patchwork quilts, perfectly shaped with tiny specks in the corners of the squares. Those were the farms of the Midwest with the farmhouses and barns those minuscule accents to the fields. Later the windswept deserts and the mountains rising out of the clouds, some spattered with what looked like black bugs that turned out to be evergreen trees dotting the peaks of the West, fairly took my breath away with color and shape. At one point I was reminded of my geography lessons about erosion as I looked down to what seemed a carving or an unfinished jigsaw puzzle that I knew to be the work of the long-ago glaciers. Always above it all was the vast clarity of the pure, “true blue” sky that always calls me to ponder light and the perfection of goodness.
I am grateful for these days that allow such reflection – in addition to the observance of the great diversity I saw drinking my first (and only!) coffee of the day in the Philadelphia airport. People of all age and description, traveling alone or with children, weighed down with luggage or swinging their arms, free of burdens…I take them all with me – as well as the visuals from the plane – as I go to three days of prayerful deliberation with Sisters of St. Joseph looking to the future of how we will continue our mission of being “the great love of God” in our world.