In-Flight Movie

Yesterday, I flew home to Toronto from the Netherlands, after handing in my PhD thesis. The plane had a camera pointing straight down that you could watch via the screens mounted in each seat. We had clear skies coming in over Labrador, and I spent the next two hours staring at the ground ten kilometers below. I normally take a window seat when I fly back, but this time felt like a new way of seeing Canada, a sort of involuntary real-time scroll through Google Earth. These words jumped out at me like popcorn and I thought I would share them.


What if it got so cold
That it snowed every day
For a thousand years?

So much snow
That it piled up in drifts
Three kilometers high

And flowed out
Like pancake batter
Across a precambrian griddle

Milling old mountaintops
Into flour
Our collective geologic trauma

Ten million fjords
All pointing
Into the sunset

Through Caravaggio clouds
Unfurling roses
Obscuring violence

Scars revealed
By reservoirs
Cursed news from another star

Windblown white floes
Serrate inky lakes
Like polished granite

Black spruce
Persisting through
Their boreal blankets

Leopard stripes
And zebra spots
On a gneiss throw rug

But then a road
Too straight for this fractal tapestry
Points home


Here are some photos; the resolution and clarity obviously don’t do the view justice, so the poem is my humble attempt to capture some of what I saw.

With suggested musical accompaniment:

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