Plane-spotting is something that brings out the kid in all of us: there’s something about seeing the lit underside of a plane directly over our heads that makes us all “ooooh” and “ahhhh.”

For whatever reason, I’ve always found immense joy in watching planes: even the soft rumble of a faraway vessel flying in the distance never fails to excite me.

When I was younger, I’d rejoice at the idea of spending fourteen hours in a plane— the gentle motion and cool air coupled with complete freedom was something like a “dream come true.” Of course, a few hours into the long ride, I’d be itching to get off, but every time I saw a plane far off in the sky, I’d wish that I could be on it, flying to who-knows-where and escaping the stressful world below.

I outgrew this unnatural excitement a couple years ago, and I’ve also been able to psych myself into a terror of plane crashes since them.

Still, I was beyond excited when I watched a plane landing a few days ago: its path was directly above the lawn where we stood. We saw it descending rapidly three times: once when was still light, and twice at night.

At first, only two dots of light were visible in the far distance; as the plane slowly approached, it grew bigger and the noise grew louder, until it appeared directly over my head…its bright white and red lights pierced the night sky. For a moment, the sound was earsplitting and the plane loomed above our heads… In a flash, it was over, and the plane zoomed off into the far distance, rapidly descending to make its landing on some well-lit runway.

Each plane that we see— even if it's just a speck in the sky— is on its way to disappear under the horizon, anywhere. Next time you hear the familiar rumble of airplane passing, perhaps you'll take a moment to think, to wonder who's aboard that plane, and where it's going.

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