It is that time of day when shadows are long and grow briefly longer. From six miles above the plains, I study the snow-covered shapes of fields and towns and the occasional ripple of small hills. Fingers of trees and brush flush the edges of ditches and creeks, merge at river’s edge. Here along northwestern Illinois, the Mississippi seems completely frozen, a white band pocked by only a few dark patches where the current keeps the ice from forming.
As we continue south and west, the shadows grow longer and the shapes shift from white to the tans and browns of small towns and quarter sections. An almost red glow marks the long arc of the edge of the earth where the dark of land shows stark against the last light of day. A long winding silver band gleams in patches, marking the bends and bights of the Missouri River as we make our way nearer Kansas City.
The shadows disappear and the color fades from the horizon’s upper edge. The shapes of fields give way to the marks of lights in the front yards of farmhouses and the clusters of towns. We bank hard to the north and lower into the landing of final approach.
A huge moon hangs full and bright in the darkening sky of the coming night. We give thanks for safe travel, for clear skies and easy landings. In the midst of my gratitude, I remember the long lines of cancelled flights and others wanting to be home yet kept away by the storms in the northeast.
In the least of our blessings, we may remember the needs of others. In our best moments, we do more than remember.