Maybe I pay too much attention to the sky. When I walk our dogs at night, for instance, I watch the stars and the moon — which hasn’t yet caused me to fall down, though it has resulted in some epic stumbles.
But I also tend to associate certain skies with specific moments in my life.
Last Saturday, as I watched over some chicken
breasts sizzling on our
back porch grill, I sat back in a deck chair to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.
was in the 70s, the sun was high and warm, the breeze in our shared courtyard
just a gentle, cool suggestion.
The sky was a rich blue, cloudless, without a sense of depth. It made the tops of the houses and trees look like cardboard cutouts against a lighted diorama backdrop.
And the combination of details took me back in time.
Then I was back even
to summer 1985 — more than a lifetime ago, if measured by the earlier memory —
sitting on a green space in Gainesville,
feeling sun on my face, scribbling notes in a journal, looking up at the
endless blue dome overhead.
It was hotter that day, and my mood was restless, but the sky was exactly the same. The world below stood out in stark relief, and with it a sense that none of this was real.
When I got up from my chair to flip the chicken, I wondered about the passing of time and our innate ability to relive moments at the slightest provocation: a scent, a sound, the texture of a blanket, the flavor of a pie, a song playing in the background of a television commercial.
In our hearts and minds, all time is one. The past is always there, one step removed, and sometimes it feels more real than where and when we are now.
As I write this on Wednesday morning, a fog has lifted and formless gray clouds have obscured the blue above. Spanish moss sways in oak limbs still bare of leaves. The sun persists. It punches through the haze, turning the moss dark against the brighter firmament.
What will this day be remembered for, I wonder, and what will this sky recall in years to come?