A slice of light

by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos

On the shortest day of the year, if you take the afternoon flight from Helsinki to Athens, you will find something peculiar. As the plane heads due south, nighttime traces a curve behind you and by your side, while the sun darts ahead and away. You cannot see the shadow from your window, but you can sense its reach.

On a screen, lights from towns come on as you pass, while shades of black and blue take over in your wake. You soar in-between, equally outrunning and falling into the shadow, all the while chasing the bright, warm orb. In another universe, I forget which one, people make a sport and bet on whether the plane wins the race.

By the time you approach for landing, on one side you catch a glimpse of a bygone sunset whose time has not yet come. On the other, a gradient from an inky blue, to a pale gray, to you.

As you pierce the cloud cover, the color of an early evening falls upon you. You have not outran the darkness, but along the way you have stolen, sliced, or made, a few hidden hours of light.

Here’s to you, you little time thief.

An airplane window, slightly blurry, with mostly the details and scratches on it being distinct. A reflection of the sun flares into rays near the edge of the window.

An airplane window, slightly blurry, with mostly the details and scratches on it being distinct. A reflection of the sun flares into rays near the edge of the window.

A flight monitoring screen over rows of seats. A graphic of the plane is in the middle, with a curve outlining the path of the sun. Beyond the plane, cities at night are represented as bright dots.

A flight monitoring screen over rows of seats. A graphic of the plane is in the middle, with a curve outlining the path of the sun. Beyond the plane, cities at night are represented as bright dots.

An airplane window. The sun, or maybe a reflection of it, shines prominently over a sea of clouds, flaring across the frame.

An airplane window. The sun, or maybe a reflection of it, shines prominently over a sea of clouds, flaring across the frame.

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