I was nine years old, in 1970, and I was becoming aware of the world away from me. Changing from "60s" numbers to "70s" numbers fascinated me, for one thing. That had made me much more aware of the march of time as it affected me, rather than as a historical concept.
Plus, we had moved from Tennessee to Kentucky, and from one Kentucky town to another, so that I ended up attending three different elementary schools in the fourth grade. I had a knowledge that other people were living a life I once knew, in a place I had once been. No longer did the world seem so small as to only encompass what I could see.
I was riding along on my tiger-skin seated Sears Buzz Bike, in Calvert City, Kentucky, with nowhere to go. I had wanted to get out of the house, and the bike was lying next to the sidewalk. I ended up just riding back and forth on a dirt path which ran between the 4-unit apartment house we lived in, and an open field behind. The path connected a dead-end street with the parking lot of the strip-mall we lived behind.
There was a little bit of a chill in the air, as the sun began to set, but I was comfortable enough in long pants and a t-shirt. I think it was late Fall, but it might have been early Spring. I get the chronology of where we lived, when, a little mixed up, sometimes.
I stopped, at one point, and looked west, toward the setting sun. As I sat on my bike, I marvelled at the sunset. There were big puffy clouds in the sky, backlit by the sun. Their bellies were a pregnant purple mass, while their rims were outilned in gold, from the backlight. Crepuscular rays extended out through the atmosphere, like the tines on a crown, outlined against an azure sky which looked so smooth and blue that they would be thought unrealistic in a painting.
I remember thinking to myself that it was a shame no one else was there with me. It was the kind of sight which seemed wasted on a lone observer, someone who would never be able to adequately describe it to anyone else. And, there was no one to say, "Yeah, I remember that!'
It was dream-like, not only in its beauty, but in its solitude.
I pedalled on, thinking weird thoughts and wondering if I would remember that sky when I was grown-up...