My favorite thing to do in a plane is not the typical screen time– it’s window time, trying to read the textures and details of the land we fly over with the aid of machines as routinely as sitting in a car.

And flying out of Phoenix, you typically get a full open view of everything below, not veil of clouds to separate you from the world below.

Yesterday, while heading south to Guadalajara, thinking about the open desert lands below, how the distance here obscures the details of the ground, I had this thought about how easy it is, on all fronts, to fly over the border of these two countries compare to on the ground below.

For some reason, perhaps inspired by creative work my MA students are doing in their theses but more likely a new person in my life who is a writer, I had this weird urge to write a poem. So here it is, right from the iPad I jotted it down on while taking in the window view.

The Map Line

On the ground
Arroyos of volcanic boulders,
Skin shredding cat claw
jumping cholla barbed spines.
Munching nuts in pocket, smallest sips, squeezing aloe drops
Sun evaps all body H2O, calcite crusty residue,
Everything watches.

The map line.
Successional razor topped chain link,
trip wires, trap ditches.
Remote dust protected cameras,
silent soaring IR scanning drones.
Shaded window mud stained green Suburban.
Dark glasses, paper seeking badge, armpit glock.
Designed to thwart traverse.

In the air
Soft vinyl reclining seats
engine throbbing.
Patched tan pastel grey green
canvas slips by below.
Cool air vent flow, cart of free beverages and pretzels.
So easy to sleep, read, forget ground below.
All talk is small.

The map line.
Neatly drawn printed in-flight magazine,
not visible from window.
Uniform solid color both sides.
No impediment in the sky,
As routine as riding the #77 bus across town on Baseline.
Blue uniformed tired smiling attendant proffers more pretzels.
Designed to comfort traverse.

The window is always my in-flight entertainment.

Featured Image: Winging In Over Arizona flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. I treasue all our big talk: you launch into stories so woven to your heart that man and dog find way into forest, find sliver of sun, and calm, me listening to guitar and song, sharing poem and prose, and our stories of planning, wonder, learning, and of students, and now, together chasing light.

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