This is a reflection piece on my first plane flight.
Dreams Do Come True
Growing up a simple child in a small town, riding a plane was just a thing of imagination. Full of verve, I would energetically run outdoors whenever I see planes soar above the skies of the Grand Cordilleras. What does it feel to be locked in a pressurized metal vacuum that defies the law of gravity and adheres to the laws of aerodynamics?
Yeah, I get it – I would spend my life living in a small town. But that was what I thought. Two decades thence, I find myself working on fast-paced environment in a metropolis I never thought I would ever find myself. Albeit my initial apprehensions, I quickly adapted to urban living. Maybe, just maybe, the impossible is actually within reach if I only I strive towards. And indeed, what I deemed a product of imagination became a reality when a group of friends planned to travel to Cebu province. Evincing no qualms, I readily agreed to join them.
My friends booked airplane tickets but it nearly turned futile when our first flight got cancelled due to events beyond our control. But after the slight hiccup, we were finally in for a ride. And for me, it was a memorable one.
November 27, 2015. My friend and I woke up early to make it to our flight. Finally, I am going to realize a dream, a childhood dream. But it didn’t take long before the anxieties started sprouting like mushrooms on a fertile plot of land.
“Is it safe?”
“What if we crash?”
“What are the odds that we are going to survive?”
These were just among the questions that filled my mind before we took off. Thankfully, the relaxed state of my friends gave me confidence to make it through an hour in the air. As it was my first flight, my friend and I exchanged seats; he gave me the window seat.
Time to board. Breathe in, breathe out. It all felt so surreal that moment when I finally entered my first airplane. And we’re flying for real.
Fasten seatbelts. Listen to the stewardesses go through the motions of pre-flight rituals and reminders. It was all coordinated.
Prepare for take off. The plane was shakily taxiing its way towards the runway. The pilot revs up the engine and in one swift motion the plane is gaining momentum.
Take off. The plane’s motion pushed me back to me seat, as though I was being sucked by a vortex; thankfully my friend warned me on this so I tightly held on my seat. I was mentally uttering short prayers as the plane goes higher and higher. Be safe. Be safe. Be safe. Ugh, a shot of Valium might have helped calm my nerves down.
Because of my nerves, I thought that the sounds would be muted by my mind. But it wasn’t the case. The mechanical movements of the plane, of its wings especially, rung through my mind. I looked around and saw how comfortable everyone was. Me? A mental struggle was taking place inside me as I tried to keep my anxieties from shooting up.
I started relaxing only when the plane took a leisurely pace. Plus, that small prayer did wonders. He is my pilot and I know He will steer me towards safety.
In the Company of My Thoughts 30,000 Feet Above the Sea
The window seat was an advantageous seat. It gave me a peek of the outlines of Metro Manila from 30,000 feet. I never thought that it could look so… minute? It was a gem of lights that sparkle and play in the darkness.
It wasn’t long after that we out of the Manila airspace; we were smoothly soaring towards the south. An early morning flight ensured that we were just in time for the sunrise. From where I was seated, I can see the yellow glow of the sun slowly rising from the eastern horizon. There’s just no word that can justify the beauty of sunrises. Even though I have witnessed it countless of times, it was my first time seeing it while I was on a plane, making this sunrise more special.
I cannot help myself from capturing numerous pictures of this glorious sight. It was a sign of good things to come; which ultimately did. At that moment, puerile joy overtook me. It was my first plane ride and I get to witness a sunrise at 30,000 feet above sea level. Surreal. Isn’t it amazing?
With the sun high up in the sky, the view that was shrouded by darkness has taken shape. A wide blue sea glistened in brilliance. Sea of fluffy clouds passed us by. I also noticed pockets of civilization in the islands below us. They were so… tiny?
Unable to resist the surge of reflections, it got me how small we look like from above. A new perspective swept me; it was like seeing minute creatures through the microscope. At that moment, I realized how big a world we have and that we are just one unit of it, that we are a small part of a bigger community. Away from the confines of our personal spaces, an entire community is breathing, a bevy of activities are taking place. It is funny that some of these we are not aware of.
It is ironic how arrogantly we act, selfishly taking everything as though we own it. What tomfoolery. On my window seat on a pressurized metal vacuum sailing 30,000 above the sea, I saw an entirely different machination at work; a taller order is in play. I saw an all-encompassing ecosystem that harbors many things, not just humans. I have grown cognizant of how everyone and everything must coexist.
It was somehow humbling to know that I am a part of this bigger picture, no matter how abstract it maybe.
Funny how I can get my mind lost in thoughts, especially when I am left to the company of my mind. Throughout the years, contemplating and reflecting help clear my thoughts, even on the smallest matters.
The flow of my thoughts was cut short when we landed on Cebu’s Mactan International Airport. I got pats on my back from my companions who were congratulating me on my first plane flight.
Three years thence, the thoughts that occupied my mind during our flight are still vivid. These kinds thoughts are engraved on my playful mind. Years have passed, and I am still able to relate it to everyone through this piece. At times, I am fascinated at my mind’s ability to divert itself. For few fleeting moments, I forgot about my anxieties as my mind soared with the plane.
Apart from my thoughts, the brief experience reminded me of something that I keep forgetting: all things are possible, not just if you believe, but if you work hard towards it. After our successful Cebu flight, I’d experience more plane rides: some turbulent, some smooth, some in the company of friends, some solo. See how one thing branches out to more? Life certainly is amazing.