Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Genius of Malcolm Johnson

My buddy Malcolm is an incredible writer. Myself and James Kingsley were so blown away by the following (which originally appeared here), that I decided to post it here on the Dynasty for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

We leave in mid-afternoon, tracing a wide circle over the Strait before turning south for California. We are well into Washington State before we break through the smoke layer, the spreading bank of brown ash from the summer fires in the Interior. Climbing still higher, with crystals of frost forming on the windows, we are into the bright blue air that surrounds the Cascade snowpeaks: Rainier, St. Helens, Shasta. At the highest altitudes, with the engines throttled back at 33,000 feet, we are citizens taken far from our country, temporary residents of a world we cannot survive: “They are in a different world,” as Gary Snyder writes, “a pure transparency of blue.” These trips into the sky, I’ve often found, become a form of meditation, but with a present element of fear—I never really trust that these sleek white machines, having whisked us from the Earth, will set us down unaltered and whole. I need a bell, an anchor, a connection to the world I’ve left behind. I fold away the in-flight magazine and take out my phone, thumbing through the menus before finding Bill Evans playing “Peace Piece.” I leave it on repeat for the next two hours, those quiet and crystalline chords serving as my comfort and tether until we’re reeled back in by surer coasts below.

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