William Holbrook Beard, "The Lost Balloon," 1882, Smithsonian American Art Museum
All the color drains out of the landscape below. Ice in the atmosphere throws sundogs, here where the air’s too thin to breathe. Unreal place—gunmetal shadows and ormolu light on the fissured crust, green foothills washed out, weak, nothing’s stored up. Our pale dead call for warmth from their limbo in the sky, and there’s not any, here where I sit, at 23,000 ft. and descending.