Friday, February 19, 2010
Taken in that odd timespace in which we go back in time for hours and then, suddenly, jump forward a day, all the while experiencing only one long night and a slow-dawning morning. Until the sun rises, there's no sign of anything below. Even in the darkness there are no pinpoint lights standing out; not even the whitecaps on the large Pacific are visible, nor can one see whether or not there is cloudcover between the plane and the water.
Only the airplane's information system can tell you the time (at departure and arrival points, and in the current time zone), both the hours that have passed and the number of hours estimated until landing. The map on the screen substitutes for any physical sense that might help us to 'place' ourselves.
The best part about seeing the sun here is knowing how close you are to your destination, even if you can't see it until the last moments because it's such a small, shining thing, compared to all this sky, cloud and sea.