Stories

Where You Going, Little One?

I’m on an airplane somewhere over Arkansas heading to Los Angeles. The pilot just announced we passed Little Rock about 10 minutes ago. The flight attendants are walking down the aisle holding up bottles of water. I’m reminded of the guys who stand on Baltimore street corners during the summer months yelling “Ice cold water, one dollar.”

A patchwork quilt is beneath me that a winding river runs through. I stare out at America and think about what a beautiful country it is as a little ant walks across the inside of my window.

His antennae move wildly. First in circles, then up and down; each independent of the other. He makes his way across the window in no predictable pattern. He seems to be wandering aimlessly, although I’m sure it’s with purpose. Ants are an industrious bunch.

How did he get here? Did he ever imagine he’d one day fly high above Arkansas? Or that he’d be LA bound?

A patchwork quilt is beneath me that a winding river runs through. I stare out at America and think about what a beautiful country it is as a little ant walks across my view.

I think about all of the tiny acts in this ant’s life—all of the wrong or right turns, decisions, fated moments—that brought him here crawling across a window pane 36,000 feet above sea level. Both of us sharing the same view. Does he think the people look like him down there?

I no longer wonder how he got here. Instead, I find myself wondering if he knows where he’s going?

I feel an immediate kinship.

A lot has happened over the past few months. Weeks really. It’s put me in a place of startled disbelief. But when I pause a minute I can see how all the tiny turns and decisions I’ve made, with a loving nudge or two from fate, has put me here:

-My artwork is on a jumbotron in Times Square
-I wrote four pieces for a magazine
-and I got a great full-time job

Now I’m flying to Los Angeles for a retreat with five incredible women.

What the what? Who’s life is this? 


It’s a complete 180 from where I was earlier this year. I was a mess and miserable. I had no direction, no plan, and no patience. I had to will myself to take a leap of faith. I cut ties to things that no longer served me—which on paper looks totally easy but in practice can be incredibly painful—and started trusting myself again. And little by little things started to click into place. Now I’m seeing how everything I’ve been working towards is finally coming together.

I don’t know how long this streak will last but I’m going to run with it as far and as fast as I can.

I don’t know how long this streak will last but I’m going to run with it as far and as fast as I can.

I do wish life worked in a predictable, linear way. You choose a path, stick to it, and bam! You arrive. But as I watch this ant make his way towards seat 26 F I’m reminded that life is weird. And when you stop to look at it, wonderful.

image: Dave Cooper