Thursday, August 08, 2013

Under the Same Sky that Hangs Over Me

One-a-Day Redux
Day Eight:  Your Sky

The sky above Southeast Louisiana isn't as big as the skies over some parts of the country. Here, hovering over ancient oaks and young pecan trees, the sky is a cloud-studded, pale-blue band, much like the one at at the top of a child's drawing. One difference between our sky and that of the beginner's art is that the sun in our sky isn't yellow with visible rays. Here, the mid-afternoon sun is a white-hot ball, bleaching out the blue around it and leaving its circumference ill defined.

From where I sit the horizon seems fairly close, but even the swath of sky that I can see stretches far enough to cover a wide variety of human conditions. At the same time it hangs over me, cool and comfortable in my little house, it covers a small child in a seedy, travel-trailer park not too far away, a child who's been hungry too long and can't wake his drugged-out mother. While my sky sails above middle-aged parents and their nearly grown sons splashing happily in the family's backyard pool, it hovers heavily over the tattered roof of a rundown house with its doors and windows opened wide. Inside, an old man sits fanning himself, hoping for some rain to cool things down, wishing he knew someone he could call who would take him someplace where there's air-conditioning.  Down the road in a different direction, clouds drift slowly over a mansion owned by a Baton Rouge doctor--a house so large and glassy it looks more like a Persian-rug showroom than a home--and also over the tiny, stained-wood cabin next door to the mansion. The man inside the cabin was once a sound technician for a famous musical group, but that was years ago, way back before he went blind.

There are hard-working people under my sky and other people who are unable to work or desperate to find it. There are rich people, poor ones, and everything in between. There are retired folks, like me, and young couples just beginning their lives together, some of whom think they'll be able to live on love. There are people of different ethnic backgrounds, different (or no) religions, different political views. Across that spectrum there are happy people and sad ones, kind, loving people and hate-filled, angry ones.

I don't even know most of these people, but I know they're nearby. I imagine there are people just like them under your sky, too.


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