I remember the first time I saw the clouds through an airplane window.
When I was in fifth grade my family decided, spur of the moment, to join my grandparents in Florida over our Spring break. We packed our bags in the darkness of the early morning and headed to the airport. It wasn’t my first time on a plane, as we’d travelled to Disney World when I was in Kindergarten, but that flight doesn’t register in my memory. I think I slept the whole way.
But on the flight in my fifth grade year our plane emerged from a grey day into bright sunlight, and the site of puffy white clouds. They looked solid enough to for me to jump on them, and I recall longing for the plane to stop just long enough for me to get out and take a stroll.
As an adult, it amazes me that humanity is able to create the tools which enable us to travel into the realms of fairy tales. There may be no castles and giants at the top of our beanstalk, but the beauty we find at 36,000 feet is stunning nonetheless.
On the other hand, I’m also disturbed by the way humanity uses its amazing gifts. The same technology which allows me to experience the beauty of the clouds, up close and personal, is also utilized the create weapons which disregard the humanity of those upon which their fury is unleashed. It’s a sad realization, that we human-beings are capable of such wonders, and yet remain a hot mess of conflict and violence.
Perhaps one day we’ll all experience the clouds, and when we realize just how small we are we’ll accept that the hot mess of our jealousies and mistrust is as silly as it is destructive.