Greetings from Colombia, South America.
My daughters and I are visiting my parents, who recently retired and moved back to their native country. The girls were excited to travel again and to spend time with their abuelitos.
I try never to take for granted the ability to get on an airplane and be somewhere else, see and experience different things, and be with people I care about. My parents didn't have this luxury for a long time.
I was 16 years old when I "first" visited Colombia. It was the first time that my family of four (sister, mom, dad, and I) had left the USA since moving to Los Angeles when I was four years old. It took that long to get our green cards, but we got them and were clear to travel.
We flew with a Colombian airline, Avianca, and I'll never forget the landing experience in Pereira, Colombia. When the wheels touched the runway, there was an immediate release of happiness. Passengers applauded, woo-hoo'd, and Colombian music filled the cabin in celebration. People were thankful to have arrived safely and comfortably and be that much closer to home and their families. Strangers connected through a shared expression of gratitude and joy.
Touching down in Pereira with my girls, who are still young and free of inhibition, I applauded our arrival and said a few woo-hoo's for us all.
Air travel is so ordinary now, but there was a time when it was beyond our human comprehension. And then came those who decided to explore their curiosities of how birds and other species fly, and their curiosities aligned with technological advances. These people, inspired by nature, dared to imagine what the human experience of flying could be.
The awesomeness of where we once were as a human species, to where we are now and will be, was front and center during our family trip to Alaska.
Being surrounded by an impressive showing of nature on the ground is one thing but flying above it, above the birds, is something else. During our flightseeing tours over ice fields, mountains, water, and glaciers, I was awestruck by our role on this planet. I was also in awe of the now seemingly simple technology and engineering that allows for these experiences.
When our eldest daughter, Hazel, pointed out some birds flying below us, my husband said:
That's why I like flying; you get a different perspective…see birds flying from above.
That's for sure; get the big picture, responded our pilot, Greg.
Perspective is everything.
While a vantage point from above can be impactful, our imaginations and everyday beliefs can create our world perspective from where we stand, wherever we stand.
This spread from To Believe in God by Joseph Pintauro and Sister Corita, read shorty after our Alaska trip, depicts this beautifully:
on your mark, get ready, get set… once we didn't know how to believe in a rocket ship or even a lawn mower. Make space in your brain for tomorrow's things.
With how the world works today, we may better understand what tomorrow holds: the things we will use, enjoy, and benefit from. But there's also so much yet to be imagined and created into our reality.
It's in recognizing and appreciating the things we use, enjoy, and benefit from today, that we make space for even more impressive and impactful things for tomorrow.
Perhaps one day, our daughters, or their kin, will experience the Overview Effect of an astronaut. Not as a professional astronaut, but as an ordinary space traveler the way we fly on airplanes today.
It's an awesome, by definition, thing to think about. How many awesome things have brought us to this moment in our human existence? The good and the bad, here we are.
I want to celebrate the good. Awesome thinking and doing by other people's curiosities, good work, and skills, brought me to Colombia to be with my family. Right here, right now.
We don't know what tomorrow will bring but give thanks, cue the music, applause, and celebrate today.