It's 4AM and black as pitch on the back-country roads leading to the airport. They are still wet from the latest thunder storm, but the stars are visible and we can see Orion setting in the eastern sky. There is no indication of life in the darkness beyond the range of our headlights but for the ubiquitous red lights warning pilots of otherwise unseen cellular or transmission towers. It is both peaceful and primordially unsettling.
It's quiet in the car as a feeling of anticipation lies low and heavy in the belly, comprised of equal parts anxiety over the upcoming hours defying gravity at 30,000 feet in a cigar tube on steroids and excitement over what the next few days will bring.