Chicago, and then the northern Midwest, sinks below us and is lost beneath a vast cloud plain. Seattle is 1,700 miles in the distance. We climb to 35,000 feet and the unseen continent passes in silence below us. We arrive at apogee and begin the long arc down. At the same time the land rises up, ridges and peaks breaking out of the clouds, shining islands in the sky. Jeremiah nudges me: "Look." He reaches for the camera.
Winter is bright and deep here. Winter shines as far as the eye can see. Jeremiah looks down into its depths and feels its immediacy, its danger. "Do you think anyone is lost down there?"
The land rises to meet us in our descent, and the clouds flow down the valleys and away.
We land, but only for a brief time, then ascend again, this time doubling back to Spokane. As we climb the land sinks away again. The clouds rise, sweep away the islands, the last outposts. The cold sun illuminates a white sea. White on white.
Then, at just the right moment, we swoop down and dive back into the heart of winter. We come to rest. We aren't lost. We're home.