Sky Racers 5/9/09 Carolyn Stearns
I went out walking tonight as one storm was chased from the sky on the steeds of another. I paused at the gate to the meadow and watched. There across the western horizon monstrous black clouds mounted and with their golden rims sparkling, went skittering northeast as if in the great derby itself. The rest of the sky presented a fanfare to the riderless clouds and mounted great banners across the deepening blue. These Cirrus clouds waved uneven yet majestic as they heralded the winning cloud home. Then great beams of late light reach straight toward heaven and I knew I was watching this painter’s sky as if I had never seen sky before.
The birds sang in triumph as the sun slipped lower and lower and the clouds became a darker curtain and I knew I must turn homeward soon. I grew sad at leaving the spectacular show. I was reminded of a night as a child when on my way to bed I paused to gaze into the night sky from the upstairs hall window. There, as if just for me was the Aurora Borealis in all its color and grandeur and I shouted for the family to come and see. Tonight’s sky reminded me of that view of the Northern Lights and how I wished they would wave their curtains here once more, it was a rare sighting in Eastern Connecticut’s sky.
I walked on toward home and looked up when I heard the screeching of a bird high above me. I stopped, looked for the owner of the voice and finally found him perched in the branches of a huge Hickory. The Hickory stood there in the dim light, a black outline. Great vines grew up and bound the tree’s arms as if the chains of slavery. There it stood confined to the stone wall, the corn field, and the edge of the road, watching the world go by. The bark of the tree bore scars of winter damage by snow and plows and vehicles who didn’t gauge the distance well and scraped by. I am sure it shook clear to the roots but managed its firm hold on the earth with the help of the vines. Why had I not noticed the tree before when walking? It has grown here along the road to home longer than I have been alive and it has been invisible to me all these years. Tonight I took the time to pause and notice it at the beckoning of one of the many birds who call the graceful arms home.
Home at last and the final rays of sun are gone the darkness gathers around the house and the lights from within glow out over the porch and spill onto the grass. Another day has passed, only the stillness of night remains. I come in and settle to write and pause to remember what a fine day it was and how glad I am to have taken a few minutes to appreciate what is given for free every day. ©