I am not a window seat kind of a girl.
I say this metaphorically, and literally.
In life, I do not like to sit by the window and watch. I like to get out there in it, and invariably I end up a bit mucky for my efforts. But this is my preference. I actually feel for the ‘watchers’, those people who say stuff like, “I wish I could do that” or “If only I had [insert attribute or asset here], I would be happy”. I much prefer being an active participant in life, and sometimes I get injured or have a set back, but I often feel great joy.
I am not a window seat kind of a girl on a plane either. I prefer the aisle – the aisle affords me freedom.
Two days ago, I flew from east to west to visit my family and friends. Still at the terminal, I sat in my aisle seat patiently waiting for those who would be seated next to me. They didn’t come. As the plane pulled back, I realised I had three airline seats to myself, a rare pleasure.
I stayed in the aisle seat for about as long as it took for the young family across the aisle to make more noise than young families should in a confined space. I moved to the window seat, and stretched my legs across the other two. I had appropriated 2 pillows from the overhead locker above my head, so I was as comfortable as a person can be in coach.
My ‘special meal’ came 30 minutes before the meal service started, and I watched a film I had wanted to see for some time. Does airline travel get any better than this? (Well, yes, if you’re Ben who gets upgraded every time he flies, just for showing up.)
I even had a nap. For forty-five minutes!
When we started to make our descent, I lifted the window shade I had lowered for my movie viewing. The sun streamed in, as although it would be raining on landing, we were above the cloud line. We descended through the clouds and I watched as the earth emerged through the wisps of white.
I rarely see this type of view, because I almost always sit on the aisle.
The topography changed several times in as many minutes. It was beautiful, and the best part of a really good flight.
I felt a twinge, because I knew how many times I had missed this exact feeling.
I took shot after shot. The earth was drenched, and the colours vibrant – every shade of green. Then there were scars, great gashes of red earth ripped through the bush. Farms presented a patchwork of neat borders and varying shades and textures. Vineyards appeared, with their perfect rows of vines pointing the way to grand houses and wineries. And then the outskirts of Perth itself, where trees pepper an urban landscape in dark green tufts.
It is my home.
I love Sydney, which is why I have lived there nearly eight years. I love other places around the world, and I am sure I will love living in Seattle next year. Western Australia, however, is home. I will always come back here to see it, and my loved ones who live here.
It is so easy to take the familiar for granted, but on Saturday I got to see my homeland through fresh, somewhat misty eyes. I felt pride mostly, because it truly is incredibly beautiful and I cannot wait to show it off to Ben.
And I had this small, but significant joy all because I took a window seat.