But what I could never tell of was the beauty and exaltation of flying itself. Above the haze layer with the sun behind you or sinking ahead, alone in an open cockpit, there is nothing and everything to see. The upper surface of the haze stretches on like an endless desert, featureless and flat, and empty to the horizon. It seems your world alone. Threading one's way through the great piles of summer cumulus that hang over the plains, the patches of ground that show far far below are for earthbound folk, and the cloud shapes are sculptured just for you. The flash of rain, the shining rainbow riding completely around the plane, the lift over mountain ridges, the steady, pure air at dawn take-offs. . . . It was so alive and rich a life that any other conceivable choice seemed dull, prosaic, and humdrum.