A suspended layer of cloud; half moon above it, an icy wonderland below. A midday sun, blindingly bright, struggling to break the ice on the ground. We are gliding gently, approaching the earth in a tube, full of people, that has no business being airborne.
After a while, traveling across borders, the sameness overwhelms. The boarding passes stack up and a potluck of different currencies build up in the wallet. People are mostly the same as a whole, but starkly different in the last little fraction. They all line up the same at security checks and baggage claims, but the rounding error in their character makes for some stark differences.
Oslo streets are crowded when there are ten people hurriedly walking up a street than five. At this time of the year there is ice everywhere and a slip, or two, is never too far away if you are not being careful.
The locals run about their business as if the ice doesn’t exist. They walk nearly as fast as the Germans do when there is no snow. We tiptoe around as if only the ice exists. The key, it seems, is to take it head-on, rush through, and expect you will slip now and then. Don’t stay grounded long enough to go into a full slip.
Europe breathes its age into you in every possible manner. The passage of time, spanning numerous generations, expresses itself effortlessly everywhere. And, unlike America, not everything is an attempt at right angles.
In Europe, the right angle is what feels right. There is an abundance of curves, gradients, odd angles and a distinct lack of predictability (in architecture and not systems) that somehow escapes a undesirable descent into chaos.
We descended into chaos, back home, two months after we left. The moon cut the thinnest slice off itself and hung it in the sky. A totem that claimed the world was the same, only if you could imagine the rest.
The years of familiarity kicked in. Everything in boxes were taken out, arranged neatly. A door was a door and a book was a book. Names given, attached to labels and put on things. The world was familiar once again.
A suspended layer of cloud swept away the thinnest slice of the moon into the deep ocean of the skies.
People have no business being airborne.