It is a beautiful night at 35,000 feet over the fields and sleeping towns of the American Midwest. A wispy undercast, dimly lit by the rising quarter moon, flits here and there, alternately hiding and revealing the glow of distant cities as we pass. There’s a healthy jet stream on our tail, a last vestige of rapidly retreating winter, and our groundspeed hovers around 530 knots. The captain has turned down the cockpit lights, a rarity on red-eye flights where the usual protocol is to leave all lights blazing in the interest of wakefulness, night vision be damned. The dimmed cockpit suits me just fine; it fits my mood, and the captain’s too, I think. The radio is mostly silent, and so are we. It’s just as well, because we have exhausted our store of shop talk and tall tales and line gossip over the last four days, and further conversation would inevitably devolve into ill-advised topics such as politics or religion. I pull my fleece sweater tightly around me and press my face against the heated windowpane.