The end of a long ride in a cockpit jumpseat is nearing an end. My legs are stiff, and I’m cranky after six hours of listening to the Captain vent his unconsidered opinions on everything from gun-control to immigration. The First Officer is mostly silent. He’s a good F/O. He knows there’s no point in discussing important matters with someone wedded to illogic. He flies the plane with purpose and steadfast calm.
As we turn final, swinging our tail into the bright, low sun behind us, a landscape of intense color and depth emerges ahead. It looks like a painting, and I instantly understand where the term “purple mountains’ majesty” originates. My gloom evaporates into elation. The camera tells what I cannot.