During my father's hospital stay, I was also, coincidentally, reading a remarkable and gripping book by renowned mountain climber and writer David Roberts, called On the Ridge Between Life and Death. Roberts' subject was mountain climbing, but he might as well have been discussing flying. "For me," Roberts writes, "climbing was always about transcendence. In that spell that risk and fear, barely tamed by skill and nerve, cast over me, I found a blissful escape from the petty pace of normal life." And in the course of some of those climbs, Roberts says, he "tasted the most piercing moments of joy I would ever be granted."