It feels quiet up here, and protected, as if I am insulated within the inarticulate drone of the plane. Above, the air is blue. Beneath, the mountains fold and the plains stretch themselves out, and across them, the landscape is writing itself.

It begins first as one line, an elegant calligraphed curl scrolling out across the horizontal distance; then proliferates, until there are several lines, breaking and branching from each other, scooping and scrawling in liquid loops of sunlit gold.

They look a little like Arabic forms, like continuing sentences, slowly writhing on; scribed and scribbling, delicate yet definite. The spread plains between them are pocked – punctuated – with still water, like ink spilt and spattered and gathering into myriad tiny pools.

As we fly further north, snow softens the mounds and valleys and the curves unwind, becoming thick and white, and finally coalescing into great lakes, held high on the bronze plates of the sun.

It is quiet up here. No-one is talking since most of the plane’s inhabitants are sleeping. But my eyes are alive with this beautiful unspoken language, this secret script of low sunlit water and wide wind-smoothed snow.

Flying over Siberia
21st October 2014