Him and Me: 1

Why not begin a new regular feature? This one doesn’t have a particular day of the week, just a whenever-I’m-inspired-but-in-the-back-of-my-mind-as-a-thing kind of a thing going on.

I wrote this piece for my Wednesday contribution to Literary Traces, where you can read new work every day by a rotating group of lovely writers.

Our topic this week is SKY:


It was wide open above us.

There is nothing like a desert sky.

Nothing like a desert sky to fill one simultaneously with the weight of insignificance and the lightness of purpose.

Nothing like a desert sky to expand into, endlessly, and yet feel grounded beneath its immensity.

We lay under the desert sky, our fingers entwined. The smooth rock under our backs was solid, but the vastness above us made us feel untethered to gravity’s pull. All those days were a dream, but that night we spent in J-Tree…we floated. Up and up, above ourselves, inside and out of all the dreams we were discovering we shared.

All day we had skipped across giant boulders, tripping lightly and laughing, sometimes collapsing into each other, sometimes chasing, sometimes caught in our own silent reveries. We were like feathers tenderly tossed about by a gentle breeze, finally settling on the warm surface of the rock only to be caught up again and again. The sun seemed strong, but it was November and so it didn’t make us dizzy, just warm all through and energized. Our heads were clear, wide open like the sky above us.

We thought about pitching our tent at the campsite, once we’d ambled back in the early evening. There was a perfect spot, flat and free of debris, where hundreds (thousands?) of tents had spent the nights previous to this. A boulder loomed, like a protector. We would be in its shadow, perhaps, when the full moon rose. Until then, our day had been free of shadows, so why should we want one now? We climbed, and the great boulder was flat on top, the perfect size for a nest of sleeping bags and blankets. The tent remained behind and we made our camp, free of shadows, beneath the deep blue-black of the desert sky.

There is nothing like a desert sky.

First, there were stars, and beneath them we made Grand Plans. We reached as far as those stars with our breathless, excited talk. And then we lost our tethers. We were stars. There was nothing we could not do with the jet pack power of new love, and we lingered up in dreamland until the darkness faded. It was like daylight but it was not daylight.

There is nothing like a desert sky.

I read The Fog Horn, out loud, by the light of the full moon that night. It sobered us, the unrequited longing of a sea monster for a lighthouse, our own longing to live forever in those stars that were already fading from view with the white-yellow intensity of the moon’s glow. Ah, it is fleeting, our time in the stars! The next day, we would move on, to places where tall trees and buildings cut the sky into ribbons. To places where the tethers would hold.

We didn’t know how long they would hold.

Where, now, is our wide open sky?


10 1/2 years ago. I’m gonna go let that blow my mind for a while.



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