Exactly one year ago today, I was on a plane back home to San Francisco, some combination of grumpy and elated. I was exploring the possibility of doing some work with the RE-AMP Network and had made the last-minute decision to attend its annual meeting in Chicago. I was busy and stressed from other work, and I almost didn’t go, but I was glad that I did.

I had met many wonderful people at the meeting, and my mind was buzzing with ideas. But I was also coming down with something, and my plane had been delayed for several hours, much of it while we were on the tarmac, because of one of those darned Midwestern thunderstorms. I was tired and uncomfortable, and I just wanted to be home.

I am a die-hard aisle-seat person, but an aisle seat wasn’t available when I had purchased my ticket, so I ended up in a window seat. We finally took off, and about an hour later, just outside of Minneapolis, I glanced out the window and saw this:

I sat there, mesmerized, for several minutes, before I finally had the presence of mind to pull out my camera and capture this short clip.

As I watch it now, exactly one year later, I am reminded of how I felt and what went through my mind as I witnessed this. I remember thinking about all of the accidental circumstances that had led me to being there at that exact moment, how annoyed I had been feeling a few hours earlier, and how lucky and grateful I was feeling right then. I remember thinking how amazing it was to live in a time where it was even possible for me to be watching this natural marvel from 30,000 feet up in the air.

In a few weeks, I’ll be heading to the RE-AMP Annual Meeting yet again, this time in Detroit. I’ve had an amazing, special year in the interim. I wonder where life is going to lead me this time.


It was almost 80 degrees and humid when I arrived in Minneapolis earlier this week. Two days later, summer had taken an about face. This morning was in the mid-40s, sunny, and clear. As I left my hotel, I felt the brisk air wash over me, and I was reminded of something I hadn’t felt in a long time — the changing of the seasons.

As a lifelong Californian who had spent four difficult years in Boston, I used to scoff at my friends who would pine over seasons. “We have seasons too,” I would argue. “It just doesn’t get miserably cold.” I understood what they meant, but I could never relate.

Until this morning.

I’m not sure why this feeling of transition felt so pronounced this morning, and why I felt so nostalgic over it. Maybe it was the cab ride to the airport, whizzing by and gazing as long as I could at the Mississippi River and the beautiful buildings along its bank, which a friend had guided me through the night before.

Maybe it was the sensation of starting something new, of planting a seed, then immediately leaving. I’ve traveled so much over the years and I’m connected to so many people and places through the magic of technology, I’ve become practiced at ignoring how disorienting it feels. I love that my relationships can transcend place, but I also value place more than I ever have.

Maybe it’s where I am in life, the ongoing uncertainty of a career change that’s still in progress and the recognition that I’m not as driven as I used to be. I still love to learn, to create, to do, but I also value the pause more than I ever have.

Maybe it’s because I’m flying on September 11, and I can’t help but to reflect on the past 13 years and how much everything has changed in the world.

I don’t know why I’m feeling the way I am. All I know is that the moment is here, and that I’m just about ready to seize it — to acknowledge where I am, to mourn and celebrate what’s passed, to look forward to something new. Maybe that’s why my friends are so willing to endure miserable winters and blazing summers — for those four brief moments every 12 months when we’re gently, but firmly reminded to breathe.

I think I get it now.