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Would that Thomas Wolfe had experienced the thrill and glory of air travel! With what poetic prose, with what marvelous language, with what passion, with what nonchalant command, with what love, with what exuberant idealism, with what idealistic naïvete, with what turns of phrase, with what minute description, with what exultant and lyrical words, with what utter madness, with what mastery, with what fire, would he, could he, could he alone, describe the anticipatory thrill those precious moments before take-off, the gut-wrenching separation of wheel and earth, the Icarean rise through the blue atmosphere and white clouds, the look on a six-year-old's face -- so similar to that look on his own face -- as the boy looks down like a king on the land he will someday rule, the pitiable boredom of a businessman on his tenth flight in two months, the roar of the engines underneath the wing to his left, the inane chatter of three college students across the aisle to his right, the soft-spoken lullaby of a mother in front of him, the harsh and tired reprimands of a mother behind him and the grandmother's gentle reminder of the child's tender age, the powerfully masculine voice of the captain as he informs us effortlessly of the miracles he is performing (flight!), the manswarm of four states reduced to microscopic size, the lonely farmhouse surrounded on all sides by acres of desolate land, the lake, the river, Lake Michigan, Lake Ronkonkoma, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain, Lake Huron, Lake Okeechobee, Lake Superior, Mono Lake, Crater Lake, Lake Ontario, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg (Webster Lake), or Clear Lake, the Hudson River, the Willamette, the Snake, the Altamaha, the Brazos, the Kenai, the Klamath, the Red, the White, the Merrimack, the Yampa, the Chicago, the Eno, the Santa Cruz, the Missouri, the Ohio, the Lehigh, the Verde, the Charles, the Delaware, the Cumberland, the Colorado, the Blanco, the Apalachicola, the Rio Grande, or the Mississippi -- mightiest river of all, untamed, furious yet calm, raging, flowing, driving, carrying, freighting, tugging, the river by which we set our clocks, of which we dream, from whose romantic power we can never escape -- the lights of a small town at dusk, the lights of Chicago at 9:15 PM, the million Elm Streets and Interstates intertwining like veins under a sky so blue he could feel it caress the airplane, Walt Whitman's vision seen through the window of an airplane, Mark Twain and Herman Melville and Richard Wright incarnated at thirty thousand feet, and the blackness -- the blackness of a night under which nobody walks, the blackness of our fears, the blackness of a sleepless 3:00 AM, the blackness of a digital clock gone blank, the blackness of ten thousand unrealized dreams and ten million lost hopes, the blackness of Dylan's "North Country Blues", the blackness of everything man regrets being capable of, the blackness of some chasm in the middle of America and of man's heart, the blackness of hunger, of desire, and of stopping at nothing to satiate those two, the blackness of some forgotten highway, the blackness of a doorway in which a family is sleeping in Omaha, the blackness of Hawaii, Florida, and Montana, the blackness of poverty living next door to avarice in Salt Lake City, the blackness of Des Moines and Sheboygan, the blackness of white-collar crime in Austin, TX, the blackness of an ignorant opulence, the blackness of cowardly expatriation, the blackness of a midnight voyage down the Mississippi River -- the blackness of America!


In other news, no one who downvoted me can handle Thomas Wolfe.

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