On Friday night I flew from Boston to Washington, DC. It was a short flight and we were either flying low or the sky was unusually clear, perhaps both. We could see New York quite clearly and then Philadelphia and Baltimore. Coming toward DC, the view was was amazing. There’s a sweet spot for this, when you’re low enough to see the lights below as beautiful, almost abstact patterns — lines and clusters. Fly a little lower, and it’s still beautiful as you start to be able to recognize the patterns as cities and coastline and highways and rivers. A little lower, and it’s less beautiful as you recognize shopping centers and parking lots and traffic.
And then you land and go on your way, becoming part of the pattern of lights on the ground.