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« DC, Service, and Bacteria | Highlights from the FIATECH Member Meeting »

Flying home from yet another meeting

No one was sitting in my row on the small three-seat per row plane I left Boston in and I slid over to the windows while keeping my aisle seat. I began typing my thoughts leaving the member meeting of FIATECH, gloomy musings about the day.

We headed out to sea from Logan airport before turning south, as the high-rises along the harbor glittered into light against an orange sunset. The low-lying clouds in the distance made a lilac backdrop to the twinkling lights in the multi-level parking deck as headlights circle inside. Soon the cape was laid out below me, all silver beaches reaching out from the gray forests at twilight.

I put my head down, and began to write about the day. Heather, working the American Eagle flight from Boston to Raleigh is generous with her broad smile, professionally pleasant as she plies the aisle. She offers to refill my water as she returns, the simple generous act of noticing pulling me from my keyboard, and I look up from my typing to see burning gold in the distance, amid broad bands of orange and red above a spit of land running to sea parallel to our flight.

It is the Chesapeake bay, looking empty, as if longing to be explored, and I think of the crabs I have eaten and seafood I have enjoyed from those waters, I think of sailing in that bay, and I wonder if my son, Josh, has learned to sail now that he lives and works in Patuxent, in the Chesapeake just below Washington, and now coming into view.

This sunset just won't quit, although it is deepening now into a darker red, the high clouds making a dramatic dark border with the blue sky which fades from the palest robin's egg to the dark blue of twilight. Down below, the bunched grey tissue paper of the low hanging gradually clouds hides the top of the Outer Banks from view.

Now there is only the low lying clouds the red band above, golden toward the south and the sun, and all the shades of blue above. Now that I have seen it, I am drawn again and again to the window. I am not sure what to make of the conference. Several Board members, including the chair attended my session today.

They were more than supportive. They wished me well. They indicated they would embrace the work when done. It seemed they felt the passion, they acknowledged the import of the work. They gave me the greatest gift of all, that of complete attention for more than three hours, until long into the lunch hour. They understood the value, and embraced it. But in the end, it seemed not a good fit. Maybe they can make some introductions they said. So I leave Boston, weary from the effort, energized by the strong minds and clear visions, but pensive.

Yet there is the Albemarle Sound below. What are those lights? Is that a ferry cutting across the purple-gray waters? I don't know. Soon all is covered again by the lilac clouds, mow making a seamless rolling carpet to the still orange horizon.

Tomorrow, I will think of how to explain it again. Tomorrow, I will think again of standards, and XML, and composability, and far, far too many acronyms, each filled with vital import. Tomorrow I will think of market rules enabled by software surfaces, and of market creation. Tomorrow I will think of building services as generators of business value and new revenue. Tomorrow I will think of standards meetings in Atlanta, and white papers on situation awareness, and emergency response, and business interaction and identity management. Tomorrow I will think of carbon, and transacted energy, and yes, even the distinction between "Green" and "Blue"

But Heather has brought me another glass of water, and another professional smile. The Alligator River, with its large mouth and archipelageous banks has appeared through the clouds, pointing at the horizon, still orange. We turn inland, and Virginia Beach shines in the night.

Life is good, and we live in a good country filled with good people who happily share the gift of service every day. Simple consideration and honest smiles for strangers and the beauty of the world that surrounds us every day are under-appreciated. Sometimes it takes one to make us notice the others. Tonight, I am going to appreciate them. And still the sunset goes on. There. There is a new shade of deep red.

I'm going to watch it until I land.


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Reader Comments (1)


I am still with you and I am still on the edge of the DC 2.0 on my may into 3.0 passing some unnecessary steps on my may. Appreciated your moment in that flight back to Raleigh and the beauty of your writing skills.

I am just about to be ready for completion of my DC work and would appreciate your continous participation as a friend and that skilled professional you are. The money has tirred me since last but I am going there now. Post my thoughts to your wife.

See you soon


April 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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