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The Window Seat

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

As we level out from our steep ascent I spy something beginning with sea

Colourful cargo containers sit stacked in large numbers alongside the shore

Resembling a curiously congruous set of supersized Cuisenaire rods

Adjacent factories and an assortment of other tired and grimy industrial buildings jar the eye

But happily within minutes these unappealing urban structures give way to an idyllic panorama featuring the geometric patchwork quilt of farmers’ fields

Whose rural palette offers up an unlimited and dazzling range of greens and browns

Framing this glorious array of hues are thick grey highways, bending languorously,

as they deliver Matchbox cars to Lego towns like the Hot Wheels tracks of my youth

Meanwhile narrow byways snake amongst the wilderness, largely unseen, and even less often explored by earthbound travellers

Creamy dollops on distant peaks, and the thick rich icing of soon-to-be vacated snowfields bear testimony to winter’s ongoing influence

Though spring is now the season of currency

A myriad of fire trails carve hairline cracks through the dense forests

Stark reminders of the small margins that exist between the flourishing Australian bush

and its mortal enemy

Waterways doodle their way across the arresting landscape in apparently random fashion

Yet always at the beck and call of gravity’s invisible inexorable force

Inexorable you say?

This giant airborne steel tube bearing hundreds of seemingly intrepid souls begs to differ

But in truth, regardless of our persuasion, we all secretly and silently share a prayer

That today is not the day when gravity manages to exact its revenge

Momentarily I divert my attention to my fellow passengers, casting a judgmental eye

Many scroll furiously through an unending catalogue of selfies, memes, video clips and shared dinner plates

Unwilling to linger longer than cursory analysis requires, but equally unable to look away

And thus oblivious to the wonders that may well reward a mere quarter turn

The Daily Bugle has no last post these days it seems

But beware the smug disapproval I remind myself

Had I not been the fortunate beneficiary of today’s boarding pass ballot

I too would almost certainly have been amongst the nose-down throng

Ensconced in some arguably antisocial medium

Or searching vainly for a once-hot chip of legitimate news and objectivity

Like a peckish seagull foraging on the empty beach of banality and paid comment

Returning my gaze to the starboard side I find terra firma is now obscured by a cotton wool blanket of low cloud, stretching as far as these myopic eyes can see

Like the remnants of a thousand soft toys, ravaged and then strewn about by hundreds of playful interplanetary puppies

I close a lid, and smile inwardly at the preposterous splendour of my vantage point

When I re-open: seconds or minutes later, who can say?

I discover red tiled roofs and impossibly blue swimming pools have become de rigueur

as the countryside’s vastness gives way to the regimen of suburban allotments

Tray tables up, landing gear down

Seatbelts on, electronic devices off

It seems even this great white bird can’t fly forever

More’s the pity

But even though abruptly wrenched from my idle dreaming

I still have ample time as we descend to reflect on my immense good fortune

Not just today, but every day, to call this spectacular ancient land home

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