Perspective From Above

I am writing this week’s post from 35,000 feet somewhere over the heart of Kansas.

As I sit here looking down on the landscape from my window seat just behind the wing, I can see a thunderstorm off in the distance.

If you have never seen a thunderstorm from the sky, it is quite different than when you are watching it from the ground.

First, the colors are brilliant, amazing, and varied. Yellow, blue, green, and white illuminate the evening sky as lightning flashes through the clouds.

As the sun sets and the sky slowly turns from a soft light blue to a darker purple and eventually black, the intensity of the lightning as it illuminates the sky increases tremendously.

From the ground, one sees mostly streaks or bolts; from the air, it is almost as if the entire sky is on fire.

The sunset is completely amazing tonight. I can’t see the sun directly, since we are flying due west, but the sky is a brilliant shade of purple and orange.

As the sun reflects off the clouds below, I am reminded of the way the sun reflects off a snow-covered mountain in the dead of winter.

Another thing I find truly inspiring is the way the lines of rain fall to the ground. Maybe you’ve seen this from the ground before as a storm front slowly moves across the land. From the air, you can see the entire rain cell, not just the front. I can’t remember ever seeing something so beautiful in nature.

As I look down across the landscape from my perch in seat 17A, I notice the different shades of green in the farm fields below.

At first glance, the patchwork of fields reminds me of the digital camouflage print found on U.S. Army battle dress uniforms. But on closer inspection, I notice the patterns. It’s almost like a puzzle the way the pieces fit together.

I find it fascinating the way the mind works. Thinking about the way the “pieces of the puzzle” fit together, I am reminded of our profession and how we design and plan. Sure, we work at a much smaller scale, but the concept is not unlike my view from 35,000 feet.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved flying.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with airplanes and anything related to flight. I dream of getting my pilot’s license and one day floating among the clouds while sitting at the controls of my own plane.

I think that is one of the most truly freeing feelings a person can experience. I’ve flown in many small planes in my lifetime. I’ve even jumped out of a few in my wild and crazy younger years, but those days are long past.

Do you have an unfulfilled passion or dream you haven’t yet realized? If so, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment below, send me a tweet, or even an email. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Boyd Coleman is a landscape architect in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached on twitter at @CDGLA or email:

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