Most people closed their window shades and watched a movie on seatback screens. Meanwhile, thousands of feet below, fascinating stories were unfolding like this small volcano formed by a new rift zone in the Gulf of California, pulling the Baja peninsula away from mainland Mexico at a rate of 1cm a year. What will it look like in a million years? There were clusters of fishing boats, fiberglass skiffs surrounded by little white dots which I assume were seagulls waiting for discarded fish. I wonder why the fish congregate in that particular spot? A lone whale, a dark smudge in the blue recognizable only by the burst of white mist from an exhale, is heading south on a seasonal migration. The Sea of Cortez gradually shallows to to the massive delta and tidal plains of the Colorado River, which no longer reaches the sea, it’s water completely siphoned out by thirsty southern cities and irrigation. A water molecule starts as part of a snowflake on a 14,000’ Colorado peak near the headwaters, melts, tumbles down waterfalls, meanders through the Grand Canyon, and is finally diverted into a field and becomes part of someone’s tomato. Wonder how long that journey takes? There’s a common phrase that you can’t see political borders from space but I wonder if the California/Mexico line might be an exception. The contrast is so sharp that it almost doesn’t look real. The Sonora desert starts picking up tinges of green where Pacific storms wring out their moisture on rugged coastal mountain ranges. Golf courses, so many golf courses, where small white dots step out of a larger white dot to hit even smaller white dots. We descend into a basin of smog, arteries fanning out in all directions with a current of colorful blobs that’ll all be moving the other direction on the return stroke tomorrow morning- the urban superorganism. Somewhere, in one of those backyards maybe, an ant colony is doing the same thing. Millions of stories are playing out down there, low enough now to see a couple walking along a palm lined boulevard, a car accident being cleaned up, soccer game, fence, grass, runway, touchdown. Hope the movie was good.