What I learned while I was high

The lessons I learned from being thousands of feet above life on the ground.

by Torie Richardson, Editor-in-Chief

I sit in an airplane thousands of feet above the ground, gazing at the autumn trees, the dividing roads and the orange lights below me.

Many individual pieces assemble into a larger landscape that spreads past the horizon, stretches farther than I can see and creeps  around the earth until it spreads out behind me.

I see hundreds of cars and imagine how many people are inside them or are walking around on the green earth.

I wonder how many lives must be touched by my gaze.

Hours ago, I was one of the figures speeding down the tiny, winding road because getting to school on time seemed so important. M&A must look so small from in-between the clouds.

From my seat in the sky, I see the tops of the trees that I had looked up to from the ground. They are uncountable from where I sit.

Not insignificant.

But very small.

I think about how small I must look from a plane when I’m on the ground.  Someone puts their finger up to the glass, unaware that they cover my very small person. They still have an excellent view.

Even when I seem far above it all – very big, and very aware – I imagine what I must look like to the sun. The sun, who is millions of miles away, and whose light still shines on me. The sun, whose light has touched everyone since they first needed it.

Who am I to the sun?

And yet – when I am on the ground, I am very big.

My lunch is too important to share with someone who is going hungry.

My homework is too important to pause for a moment and ask my sister how her day was.

Answering a message on my phone is too important to look up for a while and appreciate what it means to be part of something much, much bigger than me.

Maintaining the security of life’s monotony is too important to try something new. To lose my place somewhere, but to find it somewhere else.

When I am on the earth, everything is too big.

Now, I am on this plane and even I am very small.

Now, I am on this plane and I understand.