Taking Off – In More Ways Than One

As the engines on United Flight 142 roared to life on the runway in Minneapolis on Tuesday morning, I couldn’t help but be struck by the symbolism of the moment. My life was truly “taking off” in a new direction, leaving much of what I knew behind both physically and figuratively. It really made me cherish those last moments the plane remained on Minnesota soil.

While obviously not a picture of my exact plane, this is a United A319, which is what I flew in to Chicago.  The views were spectacular and inspired reflection.

While obviously not a picture of my exact plane, this is a United A319, which is what I flew in to Chicago. The views were spectacular and inspired reflection.

Amazingly, the initial ascent was as glorious as the moment deserved. At 8:30 a.m. the weather in the Twin Cities was perfect, the sky was clear, and the morning sun was shining. These conditions allowed a breathtaking view of the city as we flew north toward downtown Minneapolis and then turned east toward St. Paul.

The route was perfect for reflection and closure, as one by one I saw the major landmarks of my life in MN quickly come into and quietly pass out of my view: St. Helena school, my parents’ house, the Lake Street bridge, the U of MN campus, then CDH, Lake Phalen, my own home (now rented out), and Mounds Park Academy. I saw the Lake Phalen Cub Foods that I had helped to bring to my neighborhood last year and where I bought the snacks that I had in my bag less than 12 hours before. It was honestly as if all of these places, full of meaning and memory, had lined up just to say goodbye to me.

Or perhaps it was just serendipity. Because the real reason for this northern flight route, I found out from a fellow passenger, was that Tuesday was one of the first days of a runway closing that would cause a lot of air traffic to be diverted to the north. Regardless, it was the perfect way to start my journey. Bad for South Minneapolis residents perhaps, but completely fitting for me.

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