Planes Flying into the Sunset

I live in Columbia, Maryland, a few miles east of Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, which everyone calls BWI. From my deck on the northern side of my house, I regularly see airliners flying west out of BWI and others flying south then heading east to land there. Because the view from my deck, looking across a pond surrounded by mature trees, is so beautiful, I eat all my meals on the deck, weather permitting, and spend as much time as I can enjoying its splendor.

That means I see many planes coming and going. Before the pandemic, flights were constant, every few minutes. Covid-19 didn’t stop them altogether, but they become much fewer. Now they’re increasing regularly.

The outgoing flights are much higher and much louder than the incoming ones. My guess is that planes heading out and climbing require much more power than those descending and preparing to land. At times, planes flying eastward are so far up that I can barely see them, but they are still thunderous.

My favorite time to watch the outgoing planes is as the sun is setting. The planes heading out appear to be flying directly toward the sinking sun. Best of all are those moments just before twilight when the sun is so low that it shines only on the very tops of the trees. At those times, the airliners glow and shimmer as the sunlight floods them from below.

I am among the most fortunate of men, living in a beautiful place and surrounded by the magnificence of nature at its most resplendent. But nothing is more beautiful than planes at twilight flying into the dying sun.

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