We are fishing in the Adirondacks with author Anthony Grasso to try and catch some solitude.
Overhead streaks of white smoke trace the flight path of an almost invisible source. Its silver, streamlined body casts shadowy reflections against the sun’s rays.
From where I stand it seems nothing more than a tiny toy in a child’s hand. With my two fingers a mere paper’s width apart, my arm out stretched and elevated, I squint out the sun and slowly close the gap between my thumb and forefinger. I imagine I’m pinching the tail section of the plane as it cruises through the atmosphere of my childhood home. My arm moves slowly with the silent phantom. Its engines no longer working to propel it forward, my hand decides the passengers’ traveling arc. My arm begins to numb. Tiring of the game, I drop it to my side and watch as the plane continues through the cloud-barren sky. The course follows a perpendicular line to the well-worn trail beneath my boots. Before its tails disperse into white wisps easily mistaken for the lightest of cirrus clouds, the toy passes beyond a ridge line of towering cedars and wind slanted white pines of the Five Ponds Wilderness area.
Slowly, a faint hum envelops the air in its absence. The distant drone of churning turbines in chase of its owner echoes the vibe of unpleasant places. Distant places where concrete and pavement stretch for miles in every direction of a forlorn compass. I shiver, pondering in the midst of the broken birdsong; will any of those inside the plane ever venture to place their soul, their heart, in these woods? My eyes close:
I’m a man in a suit of Zegna’s finest, a first-class frequent flyer tipping a frosted glass of sweet tongue-numbing rum, ice-cubes clink together and roll forward when the rim touches my lips. I smile out a wink as a flight attendant walks past. Pretentious as the show may be, her smile affirms my conceit. I’ll ask her to dinner when the wheels screech to a halt at the gate. Over confident of her easy ‘yes’ response, I take another sip and close my eyes as the liquid burns down the back of my throat…
When I open them a lone red winged black bird flitters in the lower laying branches of a nearby birch. I feel a swelling sadness as the sun spackles warmth on my face. Somewhere around 20 to 30-thousand feet in the air, surrounded by a herd of 100 plus strange faces, a plane becomes one of the world’s loneliest places, second only to a single occupied life raft set adrift in the open ocean. We’re travelers on separate planes that tailored suit and me, and I’m just as alone as the man I envisioned sitting on that plane, but so much more alive.
“I don’t envy you, stranger”.