Sunrise at 30,000 feet

My dream was interrupted by a soft British accent, a BBC announcer in London where it was already mid morning. It took a moment to shift from my dream to realize it was already time to rise if I were to make my 6:10 flight. While early morning flights are fine in theory — I can make it to the west coast before noon – I usually question my choice when the alarm goes off.

This morning, the flight from Manchester left the gate early, took off to the north, and banked eastward. Sitting in 3A, I had a near-perfect view as we turned south at the ocean, Portsmouth below, and traced the coast to Boston, the distinctive crooked outline of Cape Cod clearly visible and seeming smaller than it should be. Still pre-dawn, the eastern horizon was outlined in the glow of hot embers, yellowing at the point where the sun would soon rise.

Witnessing the dawn from 30,000 feet more than justifies a 4 am wake-up.

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Presidential race

Following two weeks of political conventions, I’m struck by this eventful, historic, and entertaining moment in American politics:

Barack Obama becomes the first black candidate for U.S. President. John McCain selects Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate and the first woman candidate for Vice President nominated by the Republicans.  As many have pointed out, whoever wins will make history.

The next two months of campaigning should be interesting – and I hope just as serious. May the political debate focus on the candidates’ visions and solutions to the serious issues facing the country and not degenerate into baseless attack ads preying upon America’s innermost fears.

Considering even our worst election moments, we should be grateful for the process that has governed this country since its formation.  The recent  horror of the Zimbabwe presidential election and corrupted runoff are unfortunate reminders of how bad  it could be.

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