A few weekends ago, I was back east for a family wedding.
The wedding was lovely. The day-of weather was beautiful despite recent hurricanes, and though I was nervous for the ceremony reading I was going to share, it all went perfectly well.
Nick and I flew back to the east coast together, but with his work reaching the end of their fiscal year, he flew back to Denver sooner than I did. I spent more time with family, catching up on the past year or more. This left me to travel home solo. I don't mind traveling alone, but I do love to travel with Nick. I think it's actually one of the things we do best together. Our whole relationship is really based on travel, but that's another story...
I found myself traveling back to Denver, quietly making my way through the airport, after a teary good by to my mom. I had a bag of freshly picked apples from my favorite orchard and popcorn from the local arcade (it's literally the best, we are all hooked, don't judge). This made my bags a bit tricky to maneuver, and meant I'd receive some chastisement from the flight attendant, but I managed thanks to the larger paper bag from the airport market. I slipped the bag of apples next to the salad and walked onto the plane.
I don't really like to chat on airplanes. I find that awkward pause between conversations unbearable. You come to a mutual place where you're both still talking, not sure how to end it, but definitely over it, and even when it is ended, there's that feeling hanging in the air. It's as if the energy has been opened, but then it just floats, unsure if it's needed or if it should just go back to hiding. There's that other awkward situation if only one person realizes that the conversation should be over, or the people around you are over it, but the person keeps going on and on, a bit too loud for such a crowded space. This is the worst. This plane ride wasn't like that at all, thankfully.
It was, while mostly uneventful, somewhat comical. At some point during the flight I wanted my water bottle - one of those camel back ones with the silicone straw type sipping device. Well, I wish I'd remembered that they often leak on airplane rides - and when I reached down to get it, well, it had leaked. I used some napkins to dry the backpack a bit, no harm done, but you know how tight these planes are and how now at least 16 people know that your water bottle leaked.
And then, you know how those silicone straw type sipping devices keep the water inside it (and that's likely how the leak started in the first place? Well I will usually pinch it just to let the water fall back down into the bottle rather than staying in the mouthpiece - but this was an airplane under cabin pressure - so it shoots directly up towards my face. Luckily I had napkins handy already.
If this wasn't enough, I decide I might as well keep the train rolling and eat the salad I purchased to compensate for the lack of lunch on a lunch hour flight. (Why do they even bother with the pretzels?! all 4.6 of them in that tiny stupid pouch...) any way. The dressing container was not too unfriendly, but was touchy enough to spurt out a bit of the mustard colored dressing onto my sweatshirt. Still, no harm done. I'm just lucky that my choice to shake my salad in the container to distribute the dressing didn't go awry!
And all the while I was able to laugh at myself and this comical stretch of consumption.
Lucky for me, the two guys sitting next to me were not weirdo's (like the guy standing near me in at the gate who I actually prayed wouldn't sitting next to me or near me), but looked more like professors of somthing. They seemed kind, they had glasses of white wine, split a sandwich and were mostly quiet.
Other than general exchanges for the flight attendant passing out drinks, and the moment I decided to let this guy know that his head phones were sticking out of his pocket and risked being lost (the little rubber ended kind), which took much more explaining than I realized, it was mostly not awkward.
There was even a moment when the man sitting in the middle, nodding off on a nap, nearly spilled coffee all over his lap because he had it in his hand to prevent it from being knocked off the tray table. Luckily I had the somewhat damp napkins handy.
Later on in the flight, he started working on a book - an illustrated book with a lovely message from what my too close not to peek eyes could tell. The illustrations were familiar, and very sweet.
I was interested and appreciated seeing someone do something creative on a flight. I'm always somewhat nervous to do that since I know people are peeking over shoulders and between seats - they can't help it, I don't blame them. I am always curious as well.
But as the plane landed, he handed me a small piece of paper.
"I made you a book mark. It's you apple picking," he said.
I was taken aback.
"Thank you! That's so sweet!"
He had signed it.
I asked what he had been working on. He told me it was a book deal with scholastic, and that the message was, if you had an audience of the world - what would you say?
I asked what his something was, "Don't be afraid to create."
Me? "More Love. More Compassion."
And it's true. The great movers of our time all have a something.
"I have a dream." "Give peace a chance." "Be the change."
While maybe over used now, they're still potent mega-truths.
We chatted about creativity, being an artist, follow your heart, and what they were up to in town.
It was a lovely exchange, that wasn't awkward at all. One of those small moments that makes a whole trip meaningful.
I framed the drawing - there was no way I could use it as a bookmark.
Stay Open & Aware ( & Radiant),
If you're a creative and curious, watch this video of his most well known book.