05 July 2010

An Alien Sky

It was a simple folding camp chair, the same camp chair in which I sat many summers, wearing my shirt of peachy-salmon cotton, in that time before the universe folded in upon itself.  The shorts, the grass-stained shoes which need replacing...we know each other well, but the sky above became a stranger's face I strained to recall having seen before.

The sun has set behind the trees far away across the field, bathing the sky in shades that match my shirt, fading into indigo and wine. 'This is perfect' I say to myself as we await the fireworks. Relaxation has slowly spread from the pit of my belly and into my legs and arms and mind. For the first time in months the feeling of being human has come back, and the effect is so soothing I lean my head back and slump down in the camp chair. Briefly, so slowly, my eyes close upon the gently brightening stars above. Listening to my daughter and the murmurs and chatter of the people around us, I drift into a reverie.

The stars above resolve themselves into familiar patterns at first. They start to snap into focus as I recall the nights spent outdoors with my G-maw, binoculars to the eyes and her outstretched hand pointing as she named the points of light and the constellations. Orion. Cygnus. Betelgeuse. Sirius. I remember them well. She turns to me and I see the smile on her face in the silvery half-light. My eyes are shut.

I blink, and spasm slightly, fingers gripping the armrests as I try and figure out where I am. Had I fallen asleep? If so, it was only for a very brief moment. I felt as if I had suddenly moved a great distance and at great speed. My eyes fluttered rapidly as I tried to shake off the disorientation. I was staring upwards, but at stars I could not name. Nothing was where I remembered it to be. It flashed before me that I was on another planet, one tremendously far from Earth, and the constellations I had known were nowhere to be found.

My daughter laughed again, chasing after a light stick flung over my shoulder and into the grass behind the chair. I gasped and squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them. The stars, they made sense again. I called over to her, feeling myself back on Earth or someplace like it.

I do not need to read science fiction to imagine having to navigate unfamiliar skies at night. I know, already. My life has tumbled violently in the past few years, flinging me far out of my familiar orbits and into space unknown. Standing in the soil of an alien planet, alone and panicked, Orion and Canis Major cannot find me no matter how expertly they hunt. Rather, I cannot find them. By the light of foreign suns, I'll have to forge a path anew, seeking home across any distance no matter how great. My sensors are up. They sort through the static and hiss, locking on to the only beacon by which I can navigate.

"Catch, daddy! 1, 2, 3...!"

She throws a glowing loop, and my hands rise reflexively to grasp it. We laugh together, and I set my course for home.


  1. Get outta my brain, Gumby.
    Sorting through lots of static and hiss this summer. Looking forward to some focus.

    Really well written too, btw, though that goes w/out saying.

  2. Beautiful...

    I have been watching your galaxy from afar as of late...soon we will be Linkedin...

    Peace bro...like the banner, at first glance it said 'Burlesque BBQ' :) - now that would get down to the nitty gritty of stripping down to the bone...oh my!

  3. Maybe you just need to look inward for those navigational constellations. With the brightest North Star in sight as your guide, you'll find your way.


  4. it seems that you have some tools to find your way, fond memories and sweet laughter are a good place to begin. Wishing you well.

  5. You need to put your writings together and try to get them published. You are truly a gifted writer.

    Children, especially our own, are the umbilical cords which keep us earthbound.

  6. Lovely. Your perspective is contagious...thank you.

  7. I'm with Douglas. You are a very gifted writer.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...