Tuesday Slice of Life : June 28, 2016.
From seat 6B, I look out the tiny window. The flight attendant holds a tray of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in front of me. Although the aroma is tempting, I maintain control with a quick “no thank you.” The man in 6A accepts.
Now he munches the cookie, licks his fingers, and sips some red wine. His ears are plugged. I wonder if it is music. What kind would a gray-haired man munching a chocolate chip cookie listen to? Slowly he scans a document on his laptop screen. He had been drafting it before lunch was served.
I shift in my seat and crane my neck a bit more. Below, lingering snow sets off the mountain ridges from the hazy sky, defining the horizon. A long lake–green as a rancher’s field of winter wheat–spreads itself at the base of the mountains. Beyond it, all is brown–multiple shades of brown that give definition to the land. I’ve never noticed so many shades of brown before. Upward the blueness of the sky increases, losing its airy, wispy haze that blurs the horizon. I stealthily attempt to capture the scene with my iPhone.
A bell beeps. A flight attendant walks past. I lean my head back, relaxing into seat 6B. Voices of children in the main cabin are muffled by the steady roar of engines. Images flicker on the small TV screens hanging over every third row. Window shades are drawn, except seat 6A.
Without warning, the man in seat 6A leans toward the window, then turns and says, “There’s Crater Lake.”
Deep, pure water in a sleeping volcano.
No rivers flow in nor out. It is fed by rain and snow.
A blue gem holding some of the purest water on earth in one of the world’s deepest lakes.
I always thrill to see it!
I remember the mounds of snow towering over our car one late June day when we drove along its upper rim, high above the lake. It was like we had been transported to another world, . . . but that is a different slice of life.
“Would you like me to get a picture for you?” the man in 6A motioned toward the iPhone in my hand.
“Have you ever been on Wizard Island?” I asked.
And for a few minutes I heard about the long steep trail that led to the shore of the lake, its blueness and absolute clearness, the boat that ferried visitors to Wizard Island, the dipper of water he drank straight from the lake, and the long, long steep trail he had to climb back out of the crater.
Crater Lake is behind us now. The man has fallen silent.
I feel the beginning descent of the plane. With head back, eyes closed, I think, “Less than an hour to touchdown! Home!”
It will be 37 days before I board another plane. Perhaps in that time Carl and I should drive to Crater Lake to drink its clear blue water from a dipper.
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I love the way you shared your encounters with your unknown travel partner. Enjoy your time at home and drinking from the dipper.
Awww, thanks for noticing and sharing the well-wishing…
I really enjoyed your slice-imagining that I sat next to you in seat 6C! Your vivid descriptions had me there. Enjoy the time and hope you get to go to crater lake and drink from the dipper…both physically and metaphorically speaking.
Thanks! I will definitely drink from the dipper metaphorically this month!
I am reading this an hour before I drive to PDX to go to visit family in Canada for a week. I am excited to be going. Next week, I will see Mount Hood as we touch down, not Crater Lake, but my feelings will be the same as yours: Home. Thank you for this beautiful slice.
You are so welcome. May your travels to Canada via Portland be safe and your days with family refreshing. I hope you had a great view of Mt. Hood today — no clouds blocking it. Thanks for sharing!
You captured all the details of being on that plane! I could hear it and see it all so vividly. And now I want to go for that hike to drink from that ladle, too! So enjoyed your story! I hope you do take that hike this summer and write about it.
Thank you for taking time to read and share! Your words gave me some ideas for “In the classroom” with this slice: 1) the work of sensory details 2) word choice–ladle vs. dipper (I wonder if that is a regional vocab choice) 3) author motivating readers 4) reader challenging the author to write more. Love all of that in your comment!
Have you ever
to Wizard Island?
No, he replied,
but I really should.
He put away
his book of spells
and mesmerized me
leaving a poem
in my top pocket
when I might yet need
a little magic.
–Kevin, lifting a line (loved the post and image) for a sort of poem.
Funny how I never thought of Wizard Island that way. It has always been paired with Crater Lake in my mind–a bit of beautiful geography. Now I am wondering about the origins of the name. Now I’m imagining it as a setting in a story filled with magic. Thanks for sharing! Love the poem.
I love the pace of this slice of life and the mystery of it all. It feels like the start of something larger.
Thank you for reading and sharing. Combining your suggestion of “mystery” with “book of spells … mesmerized … I might yet need a little magic” from dogtrax and “drink from the dipper … metaphorically speaking” from aruddteacher100, perhaps as you say, it is “the start of something larger.” Fascinating how comments about a piece can be threads which, woven together, create a fabric of reflection.