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Sophia Shultz's Blog


11th Feb 2009

In “True Stories,” David Byrne’s quirky 1980s interpretation of Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town”, the narrator (David Byrne) states that all of Texas was under water at one time, and remarks, “Looks like it still is.”

At 30,000 feet, I’m looking down at immense flatness and agreeing with him. Each time we fly over a river I see entire geographic histories: evidence of past floods delineated in gentle arcs radiating from river bends; old-age rivers twisting and turning, and rivers that have found new paths of least resistance, leaving ox-bow lakes.

Suddenly a glint other than the silvery water below catches my eye. I see a dark-colored jet rocket past trailing four gleaming objects, and realize after a moment’s puzzled consideration that this plane has a fighter-jet escort. We must be near Oklahoma, and that must be Air Force One, taking President Obama back to Washington after visiting Edmond, Oklahoma, which was struck by tornadoes last night. My cousin Wendy lives in Edmond, and after seeing the news this morning I called and found to my relief that she’s okay. I am reminded of this as the jet and its escort sail out of sight.

This has been a long flight, in an airplane with elbow room that makes a Greyhound bus seem spacious. Every time I drop something the young man next to me has to reach for it; twice I was separating embroidery floss and accidentally ended up practically with my arm in his face. Fortunately he was a good sport about it.

My next challenge is seeing if I can fly standby to Tucson instead of waiting for a later flight. If I can’t, my brand new suitcase (which did have to be checked after all) will get to Tucson before I do.

Update: my luggage will, in fact, get to Tucson before I do. The flight was full and the standby list 20 names deep. I had really good Mexican food for lunch, and then zipped to the gate--only to realize that my computer is still on Central Time.

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