Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The twain

Follow my gaze, about midway through today's thirteen and a half hour direct flight from Shanghai Pudong to New York John F. Kennedy. (I was sitting on the right side of the plane, looking southward.) I'd noticed that we were keeping company with the moon - full, or nearly full - only slowly leaving it behind as we flew along the coastline of Alaska. Above is my last glimpse of it, setting behind us. I didn't watch it fade from view because an unfurling glacier below caught my eye. And then, to the southeast, where our plane was headed, I saw the first light of a new day dancing on the peaks and edges of massive snow-covered mountains wading like ancient sea monsters in an ocean of cloud! (The largest may be Mount Logan.) My cellphone camera barely does them justice. But you get the idea. First light - gold, then peach, then cream, then white - on only the very highest points of mountains, sometimes no more than the thin line of a ridge, and all the more dramatic as the mountains' bodies below were dark green: it's summer!
For one going from steamy Shanghai to muggy New York Alaska's snow caps, however summery, are neither here nor there. But for one stretching out one July 1st - or perhaps grafting two - as he returned across the International Date Line to the Western Hemisphere after nearly a year away, it felt like a welcome home.

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