"all the elements fused into a viscous whiteness"

This sentence picks up the writing of Antoine de Saint Exupéry:

And suddenly that tranquil cloud-world, that world so harmless and simple that one sees below on rising out of the clouds, took on in my eyes a new quality. That peaceful world became a pitfall. I imagined the immense white pitfall spread beneath me. Below it reigned not what one might think-not the agitation of men, not the living tumult and bustle of cities, but a silence even more absolute than in the clouds, a peace even more final. This viscous whiteness became in my mind the frontier between the real and the unreal, between the known and the unknowable. Already I was beginning to realize that a spectacle has no meaning except it be seen through the glass of a culture, a civilization, a craft.

The reference in the context of a view of the desert of Antarctica from the air, is appropriate as Saint Exupéry was the writer, par excellence, of aviation exploration, of the desert and the sky and of the world above the land of men. His book Wind, Sand and Stars (a title for the English edition that Saint Exupéry himself endorsed) is titled in French Terre des Hommes. The original French title, so much more fitting and poignant, conjures the petty struggles of the world of men from a bird’s eye view and his poetic detachment gives a beautiful fragility to the little star he floats above.