The lights of Spain

Written on a napkin not far into my flight home from Spain yesterday:

All the cities and towns below, twinkling, amorphous gatherings of lights that stretch forth from their centres, snaking out, trailing out, going out. Looking like craggy mountains with valleys and ridges made from hundreds of tiny, yellow-orange jewels. The dots of jewels, spaced apart along roads are there, connecting these blazes of human civilisation in the darkness of the Spanish night. Yet we are high, high, high — and out, above, beyond the black Spanish soil (no longer a ruddy brown or dusty yellow as in daylight) is a thin strip of orange as the sun’s last light catches in the clouds, light beaming yet fading across the Atlantic, across North America, across the Solar System to die here in that ribbon of orange, a reminder — oh so tantalising — of the bright sun of a Spanish day, shining bold and beautiful on high, casting its benevolent glow and warmth upon the craggy hills, the pines, the dust, the cypresses, the cathedrals, the monasteries, the people tanned dark by this warm, welcome friend. Now hidden and hiding, giving his warmth to California, his light to Saskatchewan. And we, in the thin, high air above Spain, are left with a shrinking, receding, dying ribbon of orange light as we jet ever north to Scotland, the only lights oursevles and the odd town in the black, invisible wild of Spain below — so dark now it may as well be Mars or the Dark Side of the Moon.

Light. Near. Far. Twinkling. Glistening. Glimmering. Shimmering, Dying. Dark. And so we fly.

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