It’s the first hour of evening and we’re flying towards California again, and the promise that awaits us there. Say something here, as the cities switch on beneath us, about the myths of the West, and how everyone will loll in the orange groves, unchanging. But who could stomach that stasis? Unfairly, the darkness grows. The reading lamps come on, in clusters. They’re like little cities themselves, containing multitudes: how the plot changes from glow to glow, the motives mix; the messy synthesis— watch it cover the whole half-world, the lands we seek, and the lands we’ve left behind for good. And now this new state we’re in—is it one of unknowing? Or California, again? There’s a ding, and the reading lights go out as we start our descent. For the whole flight, we’ve all faced straight forward, though none of us could see what lay ahead, nor, if we turned around, the contrails stretched out for many miles behind us like a rumor of lodes of gold.