As we left Nairobi, the pilot pointed out Mount Kenya, to my right. It was covered in snow, a contrast to the dark green vegetation all around. Dark green faded into reddish brown, as trees gave way to desert. We crossed northern Kenya and Sudan through red clouds - the red dust had been blown or sucked up even to our height.
After a few hours, we left the coast of Tunisia behind and crossed the Mediterranean. Below me were the Straits of Messina - Scylla and Charybdis in Greek mythology - the eastern tip of Sicily and the big toe of the Italian mainland. I watched the Italian coast slip away far to my right. Next we were over Corsica and then over Nice.
Very quickly, mountains were there to keep me company again. This time it was the Alps (see photo), with all the peaks coverered by a dusting of icing sugar snow. Delicious. Then they, too, were behind me as we passed Grenoble, and then followed the Rhone Valley for a while, past Macon, and slowly towards the northern French coast, the Isle of Wight, and finally London.
Usually, a long flight is something to be endured or ignored. A means to a destination. But today I had the gift of a glimpse of the beauty of Creation.