I haven’t flown in years. I had thought, the last time, that I never would again. And now, here I am.
The first moment off the ground is the worst. Full of anxiety, panic, pull and push and that sudden sinking drop you know is coming but the engines might just drop out this time. Regardless of how many times you’ve done this, you still wonder subtly if this time you’ll die.
Then, a glimpse of the ground from just high enough that it’s still moving insanely fast. Then, a cloud cover catches you and absorbs you into the sky. By the time you’re through it, it’s all moving slow enough that you can acknowledge you’re no longer part of that world now.
You belong to glimspes of mountain tips, to crests of coastlines like the edge of a fraying blanket, to fields like green circle drawings on a sheet of brown paper. Veins made of scattered miles-long vallies. Ateries of central highways that, from this height, only look dead and black.
A little higher you climb by the thousands. Clouds and white painted mountain peaks become one and the same, and you realize you are but a speck, an insignificant bit of engne to the body of an air-beast.
It soars growling with hot exhaust-breath over mountains where white accumulations of water vapor become a sea and the mountain range itself becomess a new coastline where, underneath, the creatures of land go about their lives like deep sea ceatures in this air-beast’s mind.
It’s consciousness is made of one hundred scattered cells all operating under a single law to stay alive. But, if the body gets a disease — there’s precious little these cancerous brain cells can do but panic and die in the resultant crash.
Our individual eyes and hearts and minds don’t amount to much in this scope of things, on this scale of things. Do we feel pain and can we communicate it to the inorganic beats we’ve made? Does the world feel like us — trapped in the belly of the fittest survivor, out-paced constantly by evolution?
Sentience, it would appear, is growing weaker by the elevation. Soon, the life we’ve helped design by needing to survive this way will leave us to our decaying planet. And evolution at it’s heartless, soulless, godless pace will keep on in spite of that.
Only we have invented the concepts of pain and suffering, and so we continue to tell ourselves it’s real.