Flight Patterns

Flying to and from Detroit last week, as we crossed over the Cascades on our way east, I looked down and could have sworn I saw the earth’s ribcage, like that of a hungry beast after a long hard winter.

When we flew over farmlands, how could I not think of a tidy patchwork quilt?

Until we came to what looked like a giant game of Tiddly Winks.

I wondered why this river flows the way it does, taking the straight and narrow path…

…while this one flows across the same flat landscape, and goes every which way.  If I were a river, this is probably what I would look like.

Even so, I can’t help but see patterns in the chaos.  I liked the way these clouds lined themselves up, almost like checkers on a checker board.

I don’t want to get all Rorschach on you, but who doesn’t think this looks like a pair of shoes a giant lady kicked off to go running barefoot in a wheat field?  Mmmm.  In fact, maybe she was the one who left behind the giant Tiddly Winks.

Oh, I see what happened now.  A giant snake came slithering across these hills and frightened her away.  Okay, okay, so the snake’s head looks a bit like a dog’s, but it’s got a long skinny tongue and a rattle at the end.

When it comes to me and flight patterns, there are some things of which you can be certain.  I am never bored, I prefer peanuts over pretzels, the window seat over the aisle, and am always ready to fly off into a sunset.

All words and images c2013 NaomiBaltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth.



  1. A favorite thing is watching the land change as I fly over. We are so blessed with such an amazingly varied landscape.

    1. Hi Charlie,
      We are so lucky that way! I was about to say that I love the mountains the best, but look what funI had flying over the plains. Thank you for the visit. It’s always good to hear from you.

  2. Naomi, these are truly beautiful pictures and your words to go with them, so befitting. And do tell, what on earth were those green circles????

  3. I am almost certain that they are round fields. I can only guess that it’s easier to water or plough them that way, by dragging or moving one end of a big bar around the outside of the circle.
    Thanks for stopping by!

    1. Jennifer says:

      The green circles come from irrigation pipes – long arms with rainbird sprinklers that rotate around a central junction. And sometimes they even spray liquid fertilizer – yecch!

  4. pattisj says:

    Great shots, Naomi, things many of us may never see.

    1. Dear Patti,
      I appreciate your visit, and taking the time to share your very generous comments.

  5. Román Emin says:

    Great work and beautiful pictures.

  6. ledrakenoir says:

    A bit surprising view, not a way we normally use to see thise thing – funny and really a great idea… 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your sharing your response. It was a fun way to pass the time. Every time I would got to put away the camera, we would fly over something else of interest.

  7. gkm2011 says:

    Beautiful shots, you must have had a clear day for the trip. I prefer the window seat too!

    1. Thank you for your visit. We were lucky to have unusually good weather all the way across. A clear day in Seattle is nothing we take for granted!

  8. Love how you described – like earth’s rib cage— very poetic.
    Great images and interpretation of the post.

    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your very kind response.

  9. Fabulous, what a wonderful collection of evidence of human’s cohabitation with nature. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Claire. I am still curious about why the field was plowed so as to leave the lady’s shoes in the middle of it.

      1. When I saw that I thought native trees being protected, some things are natures organs, they shouldn’t be carved out of her, sadly we are learning this a little too late in some instances.

      2. Dear Claire,
        You are so right! It is very sad to see old growth forests that have taken centuries to grow cut down in an instant, by people or companies that don’t know or care what they have done. In Ireland I have been hiking and seen rare lichens and plant growth that seem very unremarkable growing in the rocks we were walking on. They were enclosed in protective cages so that people didn’t step on them or pick them. In Australia a few years ago, they found a tree in a little ravine that had somehow survived from pre-historic times. For years they kept its location a secret, while figuring out how to propagate and ensure the continuation of the species. I got to see one of its descendants in a botanical garden over there–but it too was kept locked in a protective cage to prevent theft. I am so glad they are being cared for.

  10. Jamie Dedes says:

    … and you think you’re not a poet. That’s wonderful. The snake looks like a dragon to me. I think you can get a story out of everything, Naomi. Enjoyed! 🙂

    1. Dear Jamie,
      Now that you mention it, it does look more like a dragon to me! Thank you, as ever, for you very generous encouragement.

  11. Island Traveler says:

    Wow! These are just a priceless collection of landscape above the ground. The “Earth’s ribcage,” is totally unique and so are the rest. Beautiful. Have a fun weekend.

    1. Dear friend,
      Thank you for your visit, and your very kind response!

  12. Roy McCarthy says:

    Brilliant Naomi. I hate flying with a passion but the compensation – on a fine day – are the amazing things one sees.

    1. Dear Roy,
      I have trained myself not to think about what is actually happening when I am hanging in the air between home and destination. But the window seat offers a wonderful distraction.
      Thanks so much for sharing your story, and your very kind comment.

      1. Hey, Roy,
        How did your author reading go?

      2. Roy McCarthy says:

        Reading went well Naomi – a very poignant occasion and I’d had to read through my teary little piece a thousand times beforehand to ensure I more or less held it together. Proud to be with real heroes on the day.

  13. ideflex says:

    Great pix – we’re all kids at heart looking out the window of an airplane!

    1. You’re absolutely right about that! All the while I was snapping photos, I could hear the person in the window seat behind me doing the same! Thanks so much for the visit.

  14. Oh Naomi… you have still a vivid and pure eye of a child! I do agree, unless I have to say that I’m not looking anymore like a river (not the first one or the second one… At my age I prefer to see me as the Victoria Falls 😀 all the way down… to meet my destiny! Have a really lovely w.e.
    PS. I’m working at the book translation and since I didn’t have so many “guests” on Chrysalis Bartók page… eh eh eh eh you’ll get your free copy in italian + summary translation (well, I’m not a professional) in english…
    will be back to you…

    1. Dear Claudine,
      Your analogy made me laugh! I am so excited about getting to read your book! You seem to have a very strong grasp of English.
      Thanks so much for your visit, and your wonderful observations, and your good news! It is always good to hear from you

  15. I love the way you view the world beneath you! Great shots!

    1. Thank you, Darla. So good to hear from you.

  16. ‘Earth’s rib cage’. What a lovely description. Naomi, these are outstanding photos. I love your imagination. I used to see patterns and pictures in the world around me but not for many, many years. Good for you that you are still inquisitive.

    1. You make pictures with your words, Tess. I’ve just been over at your blog reading some great flash fiction. Thanks so much for the visit. It’s always good to hear from you.

  17. adinparadise says:

    Brilliant pics and observations, Naomi. I love the patterns you discovered whilst flying high above the earth. The tiddlywinks and the lady’s shoes really tickled me. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sylvia. Flying in an airplane is the opposite of looking up and seeing images in the clouds. You look down and see pictures in the landscape below. So good to hear from you!

  18. Carol says:

    A wonderful way to fill the time while flying – snap pictures, build a story, share story, we all love you!

    1. Dear Carol,
      You are so dear, and so kind! I love you too!

  19. Naomi, I love this post! What a fascinating and creative twist on pattern – with the photos to back it up! My favorite line is “I don’t want to get all Rorschach on you” because I was thinking the exact same thing – shoes kicked off! 🙂 All the best, Terri

    1. Hi Terri,
      Thanks so much. Not everyone gets my sense of humor, so it was positive reinforcement to read this comment. Thanks so much for your visit, and for making me smile!

  20. Wow these pictures are incredible – I also like your thoughts on each of the! Thanks for sharing! I look forward to your future posts!! Travis Caulfield – http://traviscaulfield.wordpress.com & http://traviscaulfield2.wordpress.com

    1. Hi Travis,
      Thanks for the link. You really have a wonderful blog. I look forward to following you too.

  21. Jo Danehy says:

    Nice play on words and patterns. I’m like you, a winding river and always flying off into the sunset.

    1. Thank you, Jo. I could guess that about you, but I picture you riding off into the sunset on one of your beautiful pintos!

  22. senimahar says:

    ” It’s wonderful … “

  23. dogear6 says:

    I loved the Rorschach interpretations – after I realized what you were doing, I had to go back and look at them all over again. I love doing that with the clouds, but I don’t usually do it with the photographs. What fun!

    Have a good trip. Can’t wait to hear what you’re up to.


    1. Dear Nancy,
      You are wonderful! Thanks so much for taking the time to read, and then go back and read it again! Hope you are well. Have a great weekend.

      1. dogear6 says:

        Thanks Naomi. I’m still catching up from my road trip, so it’s going slowly. I hope by next weekend to be back into a normal routine again.

  24. I love your interpretations of the pictures. If this were a test then I believe it must mean you are very sane and well grounded because I saw all the same things! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I appreciate your visit, and your comment made me smile.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Flying from Indianapolis to Oregon on a regular basis, I see the same sights. I, too, prefer peanuts to pretzels, window to aisle, and am always ready to head out. I just don’t usually take pictures! I love the contrast of the two rivers, and the perfectly visible snake. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      We are on a wavelength! Thanks so much for you visit, and for taking the time to comment. I hope it is pleasure that brings you to Oregon on a regular basis. It is a beautiful state.

      1. Jennifer says:

        Definitely pleasure – Oregon was home from junior high until my husband joined the Navy, and I”m out to visit my parents a couple times a year. Leaving again in a couple weeks, actually – hurray!

  26. t2van says:

    Loved the whimsical ‘rorschach’ story each picture told…I’m smiling even now thinking of the giant lady who kicked off her shoes that were, most probably, hurting her feet. I’m sure she’s feeling the soft moss under her bare toes somewhere….or laying down herself playing the rorschach cloud game….her hair spreading like the tributaries of the river…perhaps her name is Lily… 😀


    1. Dear Terri,
      I love Lily’s happy ending!! Thank you so much for sharing it.

  27. Yes! Window seats are such fun!! I have been told that the round green patches are from the way the irrigation sprayers work.

    1. Interesting! I can see how that would be very practical. I appreciate your stopping by and sharing your knowledge with those of use who are scratching our heads at the giant Tiddly Winks!

      1. Lucky enough to have someone able to answer the question when I wondered.
        I once went around the waiting area in the Tri-Cities airport asking what ramps were, having just read of them in a Tennessee book and realizing my chances of finding out would diminish once I headed west . . . .

  28. 4amWriter says:

    I enjoy the differences in our landscape as we fly above. I liked your interpretation of them!

    1. Thank you. It’s definitely one of the perks of having a window seat. I sure appreciate your visit, and the time you took to share your thoughts.

  29. ShimonZ says:

    Very nice post. Felt almost as if I was sitting in the next seat. Thanks.

    1. Sweet! I wish you had been!

    1. Thanks, Lee. It was so nice getting to spend time with you!

  30. I love flying too and I loved the picture of the plane taking off into the sunset reminding me of the anticipation of so many sunshine holidays

  31. I remember seeing a bumper sticker on the back of a beaten up RV that said, “Twitchy feet, itchy toes.” I think of that whenever I drop someone else off at the airport.

  32. Naomi, in the Netherlands we have two of those ‘Tiddly Winks’ fields too, near Mander in the Dutch province of Overijssel.

    Here is a film made ground-level (you will not notice its circular shape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASSLxtM7n1Q

    And here is the aerial photography (and info): http://www.kunstenpubliekeruimte.nl/werk_409.html

    Such a landscape or farming feature you’ll only discover during a flight or with the help of a detailed map.

    I’ve enjoyed your flight 🙂

    1. Hi Paula,
      Thank you so much for shedding further light on a mystery! I so appreciate your visit, and the information you brought into this conversation!

  33. Madhu says:

    Love the giant tiddly winks and the shoes 😀 Great interpretation Naomi :-).

    1. Thank you, Madhu! Just having a little fun.

  34. sued51 says:

    These are great…it’s why I always want a window seat when I fly. 🙂 And yes, I see the shoes!!

    1. Hi Sue,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. The hardest part of being a grown up, was when I had kids–I always let them have the window seat. Now they’re off having their own adventures–at least until summertime–and I don’t have to feel guilty making a grab for the window!

  35. Naomi! These are amazing! And more than all the wonderfulness of the view from above is the glimpse that I got of you through these shots. I love the wide-eyed curiousity like that of a child. And that is immensely precious to me. I used to have the superpower of being able to make out shapes and patterns from stains on the wall, watermarks in the bathroom. Now I know I have someone who has this superpower as well but on a whole new different altitude 😀 Hugs, Sharon

  36. Grace says:

    Great pictures! Great interpretation! Thanks for sharing, Naomi.

    1. Dear Sharon,

      I LOVE having a superpower! All this time, I thought was just easily amused! You really made my day. Thanks so much for your very sweet comments, and for sharing your story–I love to picture you staring up at the patterns in the sky, on your walls, in your life–with your eyes and heart open.
      Hugs to you too!

    2. Dear Grace,
      thanks so much for stopping by! It’s always nice to hear from you.

  37. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Awesome. I love what you saw. Instead of giant shoes, I saw curled biceps.

    1. Ooh, Kourtney,
      Just found the biceps!

  38. luggagelady says:

    Thanks for putting a huge smile on my face. I loved every observation and couldn’t agree with your last paragraph more!! 😀

    1. Thank you so much for your visit. I know you’ve flown into many a sunset. Can’t wait to hear about the latest!

  39. Naomi, I always enjoy looking out the plane window when I can see this sort of thing. Of course, clouds can be spectacular as well. However, recently (and I don’t fly all that much), I take the aisle seat, the better to get in and out and off. 🙂 Loved the photos.


    1. Hi Janet, I understand your preference. On a long flight, I have sometimes suffered in silence, needing to use the restroom but reluctant to disturb the stranger asleep on the aisle!

  40. badfish says:

    Love them all!!
    But…I’m an aisle-seat kind of guy

    1. Thanks so much for the visit. (My sister goes for the aisles too.)

  41. litadoolan says:

    Beautiful collection of patterns. I will take the pretzels though ! I love the feeling of flying into a sunset your photograph captures. Awesome.

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