snippets of berkman fam vacation in france thus far.


Berkman Family Takes France

Wheels screaming, babies crying, take off starting. When the airplane begins to lift off the ground, my vision through the windows is slanted. Everything that was once horizontal is now vertical. Runway markers, airport terminals, and puffed clouds simultaneously transform to create a fleeting split-screen world where there is no up or down.

But as the back wheels follow their more adventurous counterparts and the airplane is propelled into the air, I find the orientation of my field of vision restored. As my ears pop, images fly by. I sit watching them from my pressurized cabin.

Sunlight illuminates the hustle and bustle below me. From my elevated perspective, civilization is as simple as a series of roads filled with cars that follow rules to create order. Houses are in rows; vegetation is pre-meditated and playgrounds are set just so. Traffic lights and stop signs alter the actions of the people on the ground. We continue to climb higher into the sky.

My window is suffocated by thin white cotton, and the sight of the city below me fades away. Leaning on my shoulder, my sister squeezes her eyes shut and breathes out fatigue. I can hear the engine roar, and cannot avoid the stale airplane scent.

I wake up with a slight jolt of my seat. My eyelids involuntarily fly open, and I am awake for good it seems. It takes me a minute to remember where I am. The inside of the cabin is mostly dark now, save the glow from the in-flight movie and the occasional reading light scattered throughout the rows and rows of strangers.

Through my window, the sky is clear in the moonlight. Expanses of clouds stretch to the horizon, and the deep blue of the night is humble and unobtrusive. I am sure that I can see anything there is to be seen from my seat at 32A. The sky is so simple from my reclined position. I can see it all, I can feel it all, I can understand it all.

My stomach begins to drop and I recognize the downward-falling feeling as we approach our destination. Back down through the clouds we go, from the full clarity of the night sky to a world of opaqueness. My sister wakes up as we emerge from the bottom end of the clouds, and I point to show her the lights we are approaching.

Underneath our plane, the world is illuminated. The light box below reminds us of what we have been missing during our temporary trip in the sky. As the pressure shifts in the cabin and I feel my ears pop again, I am in between two worlds. Beneath me, scores of people spend their whole lives looking up. They believe that if they could only stay up here, close to whatever they believe to be holy, they will be complete. There are wonders up in the sky, they are always preaching. At the same time, though, there is beauty in what is below me. Order out of chaos. Rules that govern but do not overly restrict.

I argue back and forth with myself about the merits of both worlds. In the sky, everything is clear, and on the ground, everything is a declaration of man’s triumph. Torn between two worlds, I feel my plane get closer and closer to the runway. And then clarity comes, through the lights and clouds of the atmosphere of our descent. What is below me and what is above me is irrelevant. Here, in this 757, I am with my family. This is where I am living, in the here and the now. Beauty is above me, beauty is below me, but life is here with me.

The wheels touch down, and I smile at my sister. I have had quite a journey. 


Déjà Vu: Following my mom’s cousin Michele’s comment on my most recent video, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post this video of my great (really great, fantastic, incredible, inspiring, etc) Aunt Esther singing the same song as the street performers here in Paris. This song is one of her favorites, and this video includes some of the people I love the most in the whole world. It was recorded at my cousin Josh’s Catskills Bday Bash (not to be confused with Camp Kewanee Part 2) back in August for everyone’s favorite Tante Esther. I love you so much!

Nothing like a good videochat with the people I love! Add me on ichat and don’t ask me about my 7th grade screen name: obgrl4eva.

Nothing like a good videochat with the people I love! Add me on ichat and don’t ask me about my 7th grade screen name: obgrl4eva.