This post is brought to you from 30,000 feet in the air, from Phoenix to Detroit. As I look at my fellow passengers, I see people napping, reading, chatting, working. In three hours, we will have traversed most of the country. Yet no one seems astounded by the magic that we are experiencing, sitting in cushioned seats flying through the air. Just as few seem to perceive the magic that is present in today’s children.
Mountains and Red Earth
We’ve been in the air less than 20 minutes. Already the landscape has changed from mountains to green valleys to flat red Earth. In the distance, I see smoke as some part of the Earth transforms from wooded to charred. Below me, I see vast spans of almost-untouched Earth. Narrow roads wind through the red plain, but there are no farms, few buildings. Newly alert after my time in Sedona, I take in the majesty of our Planet. And I wonder what I missed all those times I boarded a plane and fell asleep before the plane even took off. I wonder too what I missed while I was worrying about labels and growth charts and milestones. What miracles were unfolding while I was analyzing child development charts and evaluating information from books?
Gorges, Canyons and More Mountains
Out my airplane window, I see deep gouges in the Earth. There was a time when I would have wanted to know the name of these formations and what geological events were responsible for this dramatic design on the Earth. Now, I am content to gasp in wonder, to look. There was a time when I wanted a name for what was going on with my children. Now I am content to be dazzled by their brilliance without understanding every reason for how and why they are the way they are.
My Version of Autism Awareness
I don’t need to label what I see out my window. I don’t need to label children or people. My practice of autism awareness is to honor magnificently unique people in all their expressions.
We are flying over a thick layer of clouds. Of course, there are countless creations of Nature and Humanity below, even though I do not see them. There is much talk in some parts of the autism world of children in shells, children to be recovered. This is not my perception. Perhaps there are simply clouds obstructing our view. Clouds have purpose, function, and beauty. Clouds move and change. Some of the clouds are in our eyes.
Farms between the Clouds
There is space between the clouds. The ground below me is divided into astonishingly precise squares. Every inch, as far as I can see has been conquered by humans. Some of my family’s food is probably grown here. For this I am grateful. Yet as I gaze at the grid below, I find myself overcome with sadness as I consider: What have we done? What are we doing? Is the world ours to conquer, to plow and poison and fertilize into submission? Are our children ours, to bend to our wills and our visions for them? This post has gotten long, so I will tell you about the remainder of this flight in Autism Awareness Flight (2).