"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers theme for TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon artist's musings melding metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Flight time...India journal thoughts-I

Itinerary--OKC, ORD, BRU, MAA (O'Hare, Brussels, Chennai--airport codes tell you so little about people and places and times and distances).  Feb. 22:  11-1:45; 4:30 pm -8 am(2/23); 11 am-2 am(2/24).

Reporter's gold--a notebook
Flight time is reflection time, creative time, time to assess your insignificance and meaning, if you dare write them down in a notebook, and mine is full of scribbles. I don't take a computer aboard--I like traveling light--gone from Tuesday through Sunday, I carry only a duffel bag. No checked bags. Besides, I prefer jotting down random thoughts roughly following the lines on the paper, but not confined to them-- in a stream of consciousness manner--some connect, others not. Yes, sometimes it's hard to read my writing when I get back and open it up, but usually there are enough thoughts and snapshots of brief realities to bring back precise images and times. Besides, there is a spiritual, physical and important connection between your brain and fingers and pen and paper that helps thoughts flow that I don't find touching a plastic keyboard.

A sample  from page one of journal: Dated, 2/22/11
"Why I hate airports--
--parking lots
-time through security
-late planes
-people who talk loud on cell phones"

Or from page four, boarding flight from ORD:
"Dutch and French on loudspeaker
"Multilingual world
"'Merci' is such a pretty word compared to 'Thank you.'"
"India nationals aboard
"Flight 88, Seat 22B, aisle, right behind wing exit.
"Two seats to myself.--aircraft less than half-full"

And the longer the flight gets, the more you read from a newspaper, the more philosophical and descriptive it gets--

"Is the best way to be happy to be thankful?"
"Michigan to close 1/2 Detroit schools--what is wrong with us?"
"Lake Michigan--ice flows, black water, white clouds.
"Alpine glow of setting sun over ice and clouds, magenta  glow of last light at 30,000 feet, over sparsely settled frozen white Canada.
"Leaving the sun behind at takeoff to wake up meeting its golden glow when we land."

Traveling helps you travel in time and in your mind, and that goes back to the beginning of the word "journalism." As Will Rogers said, "Travel thickens." 

We need more travelers today.

Next stop...Chennai on the Bay of Bengal...


  1. I try and carry a small notebook with me wherever I go. I confess I eavesdrop on all sorts of conversations. My specialties are marital and mother daughter spats. But I listen in on all sorts of other stuff also. I love to people watch and speculate on what I'm seeing. I've also kept a journal for almost 40 years now.

    So, should I have been a reporter? Sometimes I wonder.

  2. "Flight time is... time to assess your insignificance and meaning."
    I like that qoute.

    I travel with a laptop cuz I love writing in all kinds of different settings... Hotel lobbies, airplanes, Etc. I once broke out my laptop in a bar.

    But also carry a small pocket sized notebook for scribbling random thoughts that later get turned into full sentences.

    Take care.



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