Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thoughts in transit


I'm writing this from 30,000 feet, somewhere over Nevada, unless it's Utah by now.  That's the only thing I don't like about viewing the world from up here--not knowing just where I am.  (There are plenty of things I don't like about flying, but I do like the view).  This morning, leaving SF just after sunrise, flying above the thick fog that (naturally) enveloped the Bay was a lesson in meteorology and air currents.  The highest points stuck up through the clouds, and in some cases appeared to have created a wake as though moving through the glutinous fluff.  At the edge of the East Bay hills, the fog curls under like a carpet meeting the wall, evaporating as it fights the losing battle against the dryness as the air rises over the hills.

Crossing the Central Valley showcased the flatness of that feature--and the abrupt unexpectedness of the Sutter Buttes, a leftover volcanic feature that is the only thing to break the smooth flatness for many miles in all directions. 

After that, my map gets fuzzy.  I'm not sure where we crossed the Sierra, or what the large lake on the east side was (I only know what it wasn't--not Mono Lake and not
Tahoe).  But the crossing of Nevada leaves me in no doubt about what "basin and range" means, geographically speaking.  Nicely aligned rows of mountain ranges alternate with dry valleys, occasionally relieved by little round patches of irrigated green--some rancher's alfalfa field. 

 I'd almost forgotten what it was to be excited about looking out the window.  We all try so hard to be cool and sophisticated, but sometimes it's worth reverting to childhood and bouncing a little with excitement as the world unfolds before us.

On another note: I'm headed out backpacking, so the blog will fall silent for about 10 days.  See you in August!

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