Flight, Part One: Above and Below the Clouds

Everyone in Belgium — EVERYONE — complains about the weather. It is often grey and it rains quite a lot. Grey isn’t a pretty color for one’s surroundings, you know? Nevertheless, there are positives. First, it isn’t too hot in the summer. Ahem, usually. Recent days excepted. And second, the cloud cover makes for a generally mild winter, with highs and lows in temperature that are not too many degrees apart. Next, all that rain makes for a lot of green, all year long, and it gives us gorgeous and plentiful flowers in the spring. And finally, when viewed from above, those clouds, so grey and often formless from below, make for a beautiful and alien scene. So after nearly 50 years of flying, I decided to take some photos of the exotic cloud-scape as well as some of the more familiar Belgian landscape below. These were taken on approach to Brussels International Airport, Summer 2015. Comments in the captions. Enjoy. 

From really high, you can see the blue of space above.

From really high, you can see the brilliant midnight blue of outer space above.

You could be in a spaceship on your way out of the atmosphere of earth.

You could be in a spaceship on your way out of the atmosphere of earth.

And if you catch a little of the sun above, you can really feel as if you're in a different world.

And if you catch a little of the sun above, coupled with that golden horizon, you can really feel as if you’re in a different world.

Can you see the sea below? But it isn't, you know. It's just the sky below you!

Can you see the sea below? But of course, it isn’t; by this time, we were well over land.  That blue is just the sky below.

Sometimes it just seems like an alien landscape.

Sometimes it just seems like a extraterrestrial sort of landscape.

flight (11)

Or a tidal wave approaching on churning seas.

Once you pass through the turbulence and emerge into the atmosphere below the clouds, the world is suddenly familiar and foreign at the same time. What is known of the world meshes with what is seen, and the world appears before you, but in a form you barely recognize. From above, the grey days take on a beauty unforeseen.

Once below the clouds, you can see how important agriculture is to Belgium.

Once below the clouds, you can see how important agriculture is to Belgium.

Bear in mind by now we are pretty near to the airport and the farmland is expansive.

Bear in mind by now we are pretty near to the airport and the farmland is expansive.

 

There's a lot of forested area in the country as well. Makes me feel at home.

There’s a lot of forested area in the country as well. Helps this North Carolina girl feel at home.

A patchwork quilt is so cliché, but it IS apropos.

A patchwork quilt is so cliché, but it IS apropos.

And it wouldn't be Belgium without a castle. Belgium has many castles, most of them still in the hands of old, noble families.

And it wouldn’t be Belgium without a castle. Belgium has many castles, most of them still in the hands of old, noble families. See the airport tower in the upper right?

Belgium's landscape is a muddle of fields, estates, towns. What's not to love ? Well, other than the grey.

Belgium’s landscape is a muddle of fields, estates, towns, and the ancient and the modern. It is beautiful, in its way.

Belgium’s grey days, seen from above, are exotic and beautiful. From below the clouds, you have to find your own reasons to see its appeal. I have found mine. In spite of the grey.

 

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About Sunny

I'm an American with a Spanish heart, and one foot in France. But both feet are in Belgium, along with the rest of me.
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4 Responses to Flight, Part One: Above and Below the Clouds

  1. Daryl Page says:

    Now you know the passion of flying and why us pilots are addicted. Any grey day can be Infused with vitamin d

    • Sunny says:

      Thanks for reading, General. I admit to thinking of you when I was writing this. Is it like this every time you fly? I’ve always thought of taking photos, but as a former USNR photographer, I thought they’d turn out terrible, taken through the glass, so I didn’t do it. Until now. Glad you weighed in. Keep reading, will you? 😉

  2. Peter says:

    Gracias for the blog Sunnisima. Whenever I fly and see views from the plane like what you’ve shared, I am reminded that we are probably among the first of mankind who could ever see such visions. Primitive man surely couldn’t (unless there’s something about history that we’re not aware of). So, how lucky are we?

    Further, I am reminded of how very important a certain thing, perspective, really is.

  3. Sunny says:

    Hi Peter. Thanks for reading. Yes, I thought about that, too. And I was tempted to address it, but I thought no, just let the photos speak. And of course, they did. Love my friends who see the symbolism in everything.

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