A few years ago, I took a plane in Brasília to Porto Alegre, coming back from a week — the kind we keep fondly — in Chapada dos Veadeiros. I confess that have always avoided air travel, as visibly do not feel well flying. However, this time was different.

It was early evening on a typical summer in the Cerrado. I sat down at the window and, as soon as got settled, began to observe the movement at the airport: the slightly winding path of the luggage cart, the shuttle staff, the flasher of colored aircraft lights. I observed everything with attention and curiosity. When the aircraft started to move, I glued my nose in the window. As we gained height and the perspective of the landscape changed, the city lights surprised me with outlines that were harmonizing in shapes that were interconnected, like weaving a luminous lace. We were taking off, flying, and everything was fine!

I was delighted with the discovery of an unexpectedly beautiful light from this metropolis, the scene of so much drama and power. There was light composing this urban, human landscape, light of a clarity and objectivity that only the child’s eyes would allow me to reveal. It was necessary to break the bubble of fear and let myself be carried away by the great imaginary eagle, taking flight to the heights to make this vision possible.

Sometimes, the trivial and mundane routine is exposed in a simple numinosity to our attentive eyes, and fills our hearts with courage, ecstatic joy and a full sense of life. Moments in which time is presence and breathes an unusual connection to people, and the worthless “nonsense” is revealed as creation, life — just life, some would say, just life.

And isn’t that the purpose, after all, that connection? Many bring with them talent, an exceptional gift, which, when it becomes evident, allows us to access that “beyond”, where love is all that it is and all that we are, whose enchantment happily strips us and surprises us as a child.

But there are also those who bring with them the sensitivity that glimpses the splendor of detail in the tenuous moment in suspension, when the faded colors and everyday shadows light up at the touch of a look, perhaps, who knows, the look of a brave child to unravel the world with her nose glued to the window of a passing airplane.

Maristela Rohenkohl

January 23, 2021.

Image: Little Girl Looking Out Airplane Window, by Kristen Macadams

  • Brasília is the capital of Brazil.
  • Porto Alegre is the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul.
  • Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park is in the central Brazilian state of Goiás. It’s known for its dramatic canyons and quartz crystal rock formations. 
  • The Cerrado is a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil, particularly in the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Minas Gerais and the Federal District. The core areas of the Cerrado biome are the Brazilian highlands, the Planalto.

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