Landing | East Wenatchee, WA | January 2020

“We’ll be making an unscheduled landing due to an approaching cold front,” said the jet pilot who was flying us to Chicago. So we touched down at a small airport in Wisconsin and sat as snow began to fall hard. Hangars blurred into dark shapes. Crews in Eskimo parkas plowed the taxiway and climbed on wings to check ice conditions. Wind whipped; snow blew sideways. But all 160 of us stayed warm, cozy and quiet in the jet cabin. A weird quiet. No crying babies, no random coughing, no too-loud phone calls. We all seemed content to be sidelined by the uncontrollable, relieved of responsibility, disconnected, unplugged. Asked for a show of hands, we would have agreed this was bliss. After 90 minutes, the snow stopped, the wings were de-iced, and the pilot cheered: “Yay! We’re good to go!” But nobody shared his enthusiasm. Books and magazines being put away sounded like one, long, collective sigh. We turned to each other with expectant looks. Must we leave? Must we rejoin the world?