- Indeed, while I hope to spend every Christmas at home by the fire, this is also my favorite time of year to fly. Night flights are often smoother, and they are almost always more sublime. Raise your window blind and you may be the only person to ever see how the moonlight falls on an ephemeral, rolling Narnia of cloud, while on a clear evening a city far below you may look exactly as we might most beautifully imagine it — as a shorthand for civilization, written in light on the pages of a darkened Earth.
When you look up, familiar, crystalline winter ornaments like Orion and the Pleiades appear, while auroras may offer the sensation, sometimes for several hours, of sailing across a phosphorescent sea. To reclaim a phrase from “Game of Thrones” — a show, ahem, that hasn’t exactly burnished winter’s reputation — the night is long and full of wonders. In contrast, pilots may greet the sunrise in the cockpit with a matching glare, and an inevitable “Star Trek” joke — “shields up!” — as we reach for our Ray-Bans and a phalanx of swiveling sun visors.
I went camping with some friends once along the California seashore. We snuck out onto the beach after sunset, and I was greeted with one of the crispest views of Orion that I'd ever seen, slowly dropping into the Pacific.