I was sat in a plane last week and watched rapt at the information that was placed before us: flight time, altitude, temperature, and so on - I confess that a world formed by numbers in flux appeals to me. However, I was reminded of a flight I once took in America - a short hop. The plane took off, reached a given height and then immediately began to lose height until it found the runway.
To me that seemed pointless. Gaining height, maintaining a cruising altitude and then gliding back down when on the landing approach - now that makes sense to me. Imagine a flight path like Table Mountain in South Africa, as opposed to one of those pointy mountains that our kids draw for us with zigzag snow just below the summit! Why climb to a height only to come down from it immediately?!
I don't doubt that there are clear reasons for doing that - fuel economy maybe, but I wondered if this is not a pattern of flight that we adopt in our own lifetimes: we are born and we gain altitude through education, qualification and/or promotion until we run out of time and dive down to the 'landing'. I have seen lives lived like that - without any plateaus, without any cruising height.
It seems to me that a life without cruising height is a life constructed only of hopes followed endings - but without the enjoyment of the fruits of those hopes and dreams somewhere in the middle. Maybe that is what is wrong with modern living - we are all so focussed on status and excelling that in the event we reach that lofty heights that we seek, we have not a moment to enjoy the ride or its views before our mortality causes us to make our landing approach.