from above the clouds
In college, I would look forward to the hours flying home and back. It’s an anchor in perspective. Every time I enter an airport, with the same wide sterile spaces and the same muffled noises, I enter that place inside of me. It’s like a series of flat white platters. Changes articulate themselves.
This time, from above, I see myself in the squares of fields and the towers. When the mountains come, the lakes filling the crags, and the snow, I’m reminded of a time when I felt wild and distant, when I was captured by a dream of creating something personal and beautiful.
I feel normal. I’m a fraction of a team that’s building a product. I’m a decent designer, not a great one.
I’ve lost something mystical. I don’t know whether to call it maturation or depletion. For the first time since I can remember, I didn’t find room in my bag for a sketchbook. (I still scribbled a freeway and some windmills over the lines of my work notebook.)
Last time I talked to Eli, he spoke about the torrent of action in his life: For a while now, I haven’t had time to reflect on where I’ve been. I haven’t been able to name this chapter of my life. I don’t see an end in sight.
When do you end a story? You might say a great ending places a story in an infinite series – because of course things keep moving. Traveling is a natural answer: the story ends when you pack up what you need, jostle silently with strangers, and look out over the expanse of clouds.
All the better when your friends and family are waiting at the other end: a story’s afterlife.
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