Alaska: The Flight

A celebration of life.  That's how it started.  With my brother-in-law's passing a month ago my trip to Alaska was to offer support to my sister-in-law and my nieces and to attend his Celebration of Life, but I was also looking forward to this trip as a trip...a getaway, a chance to hang out with family we don't see often enough and do things together...Alaska the cold and snow.  I fought feelings of guilt over this excitement when on the plane I realized that it was a weekend about the celebration of life.  Not just the life of my brother in-law but of all of ours.  To celebrate this trip through the eyes of wonderment and joy was not disrespectful, it was surrounded in each moment by the memories of Mike and reminders to embrace all the beauty and joy that life has to offer in each and every moment.  And I felt as if he were right there beside me enjoying it, too.

It was an early morning flight and the sun was just beginning to think about coming up as I boarded the plane.  Although I do not enjoy GETTING up early, I do enjoy BEING up early.  There is just something so magical about those early morning hours when the world is just waking up and the sun peeks over the horizon turning everything into a kaleidoscope of color.  I started taking pictures (imagine that!) and was thrilled to see the de-icing crew come along to de-ice de-plane.  I was so grateful for that!

De-ice de-plane!

Then at last, after a short speech by the flight attendants informing us of the exit locations and how to use our seat cushions as flotation devices, we were down the runway and up into the air.  I just love flying!  

Indy air traffic control tower...catch you later!

As we soared above the low-lying clouds and the sun rose higher in the sky to greet us, there was that beautiful golden light that I love so much!

Soon we were up over the west coast of Lake Michigan and right up toward Minneapolis, MN where I would catch another plane to Seattle, WA.  

As we neared the twin cities, I waved to friends who live there...I'm sure they saw me!

Along the coast of Lake Michigan

The next flight left me on the aisle and when my row-mates took a walk to stretch their legs, I grabbed this shot out the window!  Life is interesting, all its twists and turns, and often when I fly I remember that episode of the Twilight Zone with William Shatner who sees a little man on the wing of the plane.  I like to take a picture of the wing just to see if he will show up.  

For this trip I brought along my autographed copy of George Takei's autobiography, To the Stars, and read about his early days in the Japanese-American internment camps during WW2 and his journey into acting.  I read about the behind the scenes dynamics of the cast of Star Trek and his fond memories of working with Leonard Nimoy.  When I reached Seattle, I heard the news of Leonard's passing.  Not only was he an actor, but he was also an amazing and sometimes controversial photographer.  His photography projects centered around showing feminine power...for ALL women regardless of size, weight, religion or way of life...and I really loved that message.  I highly recommend George's book and be sure to take a look at Leonard Nimoy's work and his Full Body Project.  Simple. Powerful. Stunning. interesting thread running through my trip connecting past and present and that funny little 6 degrees of separation.  

Stuck in the middle...

The light reflecting on ice somewhere over Canada

On the flight from Seattle to Fairbanks I was stuck in the middle again and the lady by the window slept the whole time with her jacket as a pillow, obstructing my view most of the time, bless her little sleepy heart.  I got brave and reached over to push it out of the frame because the view was breathtaking.  

The mountain shadows and the glaciers. It looked like the snow had been raked or that someone had been along with their snow machine. Either way, it was beautiful

These mountains were spectacular and my favorite shots of the flight north

The beauty of Alaska...

Life is a journey and one that is meant to be explored fully.  I'll be sharing more of my time in Alaska over the next few weeks...the Northern Lights, the start of the Iditarod, the ice art championships, and more!  Stay tuned!  Thanks for joining me!

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