Monday, January 24, 2022

The Airplane Window and the Kindness of a Stranger Long Ago

Settling into my seat on the plane going to Denver last May, I noticed drops of water on the window. A quiet rain was falling. Eventually the drops started to roll down the glass, in clusters and individually, creating a puddle at the bottom.

I held this image throughout the trip. A few weeks after my return, I wrote a poem about how the raindrops on the window reflected my heart. The drops of water were like my tears that wanted to flow but had trouble forming after nineteen months of pandemic disappointment that kept me from traveling to see my daughter, her husband, and my brand new grandson.

Watching the drops reminded me of a poem I liked in a book I received from my father’s  colleague on my sixth birthday, “Now We Are Six,” by A. A. Milne. I never met the colleague or knew why the person decided to buy me a book or how the person knew it was my birthday. My father didn’t tell me the person’s name nor did I have the opportunity to write a thank you note. Receiving the book was a mystery, but a welcome one. 

“Now We Are Six” is a collection of poems written by Milne, famous for his Winnie the Pooh stories. One of my favorite poems, “Waiting at the Window,” described a little boy watching two raindrops race down the window pane in his living room. He named the drops John and James and even chose which one he wanted to get to the bottom first.  

That day as I waited on the tarmac to leave, watching the raindrops go down the window took me back to the only book I owned as a child, and to that favorite raindrop poem, all from the kindness of a stranger.

Landing in my seat with relief, 

After a harrowing trip through TSA check-in

Masked, vaccinated, anxious

After 19 months of not seeing my daughter

Or meeting my first grandchild,

I looked at the airplane window

Dotted with drops of water

From a gently falling rain.

Suddenly the drops 

Raced down the window

A horizontal row 

Moving at various paces

Collecting in a puddle at the bottom of the curved window.

Since I could not cry

After a pile of pandemic disappointment.

Rain on the window was crying for me.

Objects and things we see

Can reflect our inner self.

Thank you window for providing a canvas

Of emotional expression and relief,

A frame to contain the raindrops

And illustrate my tears.

[See the companion post to this one next week!]


{A special note for Jacquie Reed's faithful readers.... Jacquie enjoyed writing as a way to express her insights and share her creativity but also as a way to more deeply connect with the people she held dear. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the topics in her posts and interacting with her ideas and art while she was living. This post was written and scheduled by Jacquie in the weeks before her unexpected death on November 5, 2021. Her remaining posts will publish every two weeks from now through the end of February 2022. Please feel free to respond with your memories of Jacquie in the comments. May the words she left behind minister to you as you grieve her passing and remember her life. You can find her obituary here.}

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