No escape

The 767 was banking and my stomach sank. The flight was heading for Manhattan.

I was trying to get out of the country and away from the tragedy, but here I was, of course, flying right toward it. The route to JFK was taking us just north of the city and out the window the nightmare came into view.

The angry black hole was still smoldering one week later and the sight of it made me sick, and afraid. For some reason I thought I could sneak past New York and get to the French countryside where peace would prevail. Air France had cancelled the flight to Europe due to lack of passengers. It seems others didn’t need to fly over the terror scene to be scared out of traveling internationally.

But we eventually got to Paris and found the French to be devouring the news. The International Herald Tribune was sold out before I could settle down with it over a café au lait. The inescapable CNN provided pictures, BBC the perspective.

When I got to pedaling and paddling my way through the Loire Valley, the threat of war seemed distant. But along came François, a French man who provided the canoe and a reminder that we have friends everywhere. He was deeply sorry about the deaths and said he was in solidarity with our country.

You can run a river in France, but you can’t hide.