I’m in a plane 31,000 feet above some American state with mountains. I’m headed west. It’s sunset. We are thousands of feet above massive cumulus clusters. Here and there, you can see through the foamy heads to the orange mountain slopes down on Earth. We are on the east side of the Rockies, still a couple of hundreds of miles away. The land is roiling, trying to be dramatic, but it’s like a never-ending carpet with wrinkles in it. We are still so far from the snow-capped titans.
I’m returning from my final trip to Washington, D.C., as a resident of the U.S. I went there for a week to spend good times with my father, sister, and mother. My 44th birthday happened somewhere during that trip. It’s hard to believe that the next time I visit the city of my birth, I’ll need a passport to do so.
Each mile I head west, back to San Francisco, is one less mile of emotional and dutiful traveling I have to do to make this departure official. It’s like grains of sand in an hourglass — there are so many more of them in the bottom chamber than in the one above it.