02/25/2015 02:02 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Commute

Deep in the freeze, you feel the tease of the new season ahead. You depart the same hour, flying west, and, for a moment, stand a chance of catching the sun. The sky bleeds some color, where just a week ago was only black. Clouds sketch a line in the sky, daring you to pull them away, revealing heaven above. But you will never reach it, not in this body. Below, lights collect around cities and disperse into suburbs and further into the country, leaving the coast for Appalachia.

Gone. All color drips away, erasing the horizon and the lights are extinguished as you climb to cruise between stars and fields.

Crossing the front, you feel what you cannot see. The clouds that beg to be cuddled instead offer the roughest ride. You can handle it.

Outside, you see only blinking lights in the sky, their distance unknown by sight, but direction recognized by color. You are not alone. Others journey too, creating their own plan. All listen, state intentions, and obey. This is night flight.

Just that morning, flying east, the southeastern horizon bled crimson, while darkness blanketed the world out your northern window. As the minutes passed, the crimson washed into shades of gold, giving way to blue and finally a hue of grey in the north. It was the start of a beautiful day, as the snow-dusted fields began to shimmer below in the dawn of the light.

Look not out only one window. Scan the skies and understand where you are relative to the world below. You are small, humble. But you can soar.

While the departure and destination vary not, your path must adapt to the world outside your window. Unable to negotiate with the winds, you must, instead, navigate with them. Halfway through your journey, altitude unchanged, the world rises to greet you, where mountains stand taller than buildings made by man.

You are small, humble. But you can choose. Choose where to sleep the night and how to live the day. You learn, adapt. You are not just a passenger. You chose to take this flight. It is not just a commute. It is an exchange of words and ideas between you and your seatmate, an exchange of thoughts and feelings within yourself, and exchange of relative positions between your aircraft, the earth below and heaven above. This is an exchange of energy. May you, like the aircraft, land lighter than you departed, slowing down and letting go of anything that does not help you approach where you want to be.

Image by Christine Hannon