Saturday, May 21, 2022

 

Seeing America

© By Jack Bogut 2022

All right reserved

 

On a recent flight out West to visit family and friends, I was looking idly out of the window at the landscape as it unrolled from under the wing like pulling a painted window shade in slow motion. And lost in thought, I scribbled down a few random notes I’d like to share with you about the joy of living in this great country.

Not too far west of the airport the haze begins to fade.

The sky gets crackling clear as we climb and blue in every shade.

Clouds like chunks of soap suds float slowly across the sky

Dragging shadows or dropping rain or silently sneaking by.

The earth lays out like a quilt below

With pastel patches both large and small,

Slightly lumpy, a little wrinkled, just enough to cover it all.

An occasional tear in the fabric of earth

Flashes light as water flows through

From rivers and creeks and man-made streams

Ever changing from new to old to new

Roads and fences straight and square define it all for man,

Who owns what and ways to get there,

A temporary master plan that will change like time and tide.

Because we’re only passengers on this planet,

And we each get one ticket, good for a lifetime ride.

Far below, smoky fingers poke the wind

And bend to the way it’s blowing.

Tiny tractors make dust as they stir up a field

As the land keeps flowing slowly by

Until all man-made signs disappear

And pristine prairie stretches as we fly.

Open land without a mark that anyone is there

Nothing uniform or straight or true

But seen as a whole, the symmetry is fair.

The earthly puzzle fits perfectly together

The horizon smooth where earth and sky meet

And continues to flow from under the wing

Shimmering in summer’s heat.

And then signs of humans appear once again

With circles of green, one after one

Looking like earthen bingo cards

As water shoots from a gun.

Then highways connect the pieces once more

As time pushes daylight to the West.

And I smiled as I thought and in large letters wrote,

What I see down there is the best.

Now why would I think that, why would I care

With all the bad news we read, see, and hear

And I had to smile to myself and nod my head,

If we give it some thought, it’s perfectly clear.

Anywhere below on this land that we love,

Are those who stand ready if push comes to shove.

We’re a rainbow of people who don’t always agree

But have a right to express it because we are free.

Free to say what we think and go where we choose

And then take it all for granted.

That’s way too important to lose.

But someone has to defend our right to do that

Against those who would take it away,

So, we owe a lot to those who protect us,

A debt we can never fully repay

With a smile or a honk or a wave.

For all this, our country and our way of life.

Truly, the home of the free because of the brave.

Then the intercom crackles and the plane starts to settle

And the echoes of memories fade.

Seatbacks are raised and trays put away

As everyone gets ready for plans that they’ve made

With people and places they love and hold dear

And we can do that every day, time after time,

Simply because we live

Here.

Beyond life, family and friends, there is no greater gift than our freedom. To those who gave everything so you and I can have all this, so secure we can take it for granted, we can never say thank you enough.

Until next time, this is Jack Bogut