I arrive at night; it is still twilight out, and my internal clock is more than slightly confused. Reading no more than 6pm, it is actually nearly 10. I watch out the window, hopes of seeing the northern lights before landing dashed by the sunlit sky. Looking down, there is nothing but a sweeping landscape of white clouds, dotted here and there with darker gray clouds. The horizon runs from pink to purple and blue; the blue is my link back to Seattle and the darkness my body expects.
I watch as more dark clouds appear below, and then suddenly my vision shifts and I realize I’m not looking at rain clouds but at mountains. Soon gorges and water are visible, and finally snow capped peaks blending into the whiteness of the clouds. The whole effect is slightly surreal, then breathtakingly beautiful. The image sears itself onto my mind.
I leave at night; true night, my body agrees that I should be asleep. Nearly 2am (as far as I’m concerned), the pitch blackness is soothing and comfortable, familiar as home. I don’t even wait until the we’ve left the runway before turning my back to the window, leaning against a pillow and trying to sleep.