A day isn’t just a standard measure, all the same size so each fits on a calendar page. A day is a period of light, an astronomical event. I felt that on the road that Kansas dawn. The broad swath of the sun’s light rolls upward from the darkness, morning after morning, and then we roll outward into the ocean of stars at night. It seems extravagant, a glorious squandering of motion to give light, and life, to the grasses bending under the breeze, slowly retracting their shadows as the sun begins to climb. VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Reading Mr. Klinkenborg’s muse at the Times today I found myself not seeing the light of day but the dark of night. Somehow his muse about a day transported me almost four decades into my past to a night I’ll remember for as long as memory serves my ego.
On that night all those years ago I was riding my ten speed home to my Grandparents house after visiting some friends down by the Brazos River west of Rosenberg. My Grandparents were living in Orchard at the time, a little town that then and there was way out in the country. In the early seventies you could still make out the Milky Way splashed across the immensity of the night sky. Houses were few and separated by acres and acres of fields. Lights in the night came almost always from curtained windows, not from poles placed along the side of the country highway. The road was long and traffic did not exist…Not a single vehicle shared my road that evening.
On that night in that place it was dark. There was no moon. There was no glow in the sky to the east where Houston slumbered over the horizon…There were no rows and rows of houses shedding light as they marched across the coastal prairie, wiping out the dark as they do today. There were only the stars…Millions and millions of stars…The black of the asphalt road was just a shade lighter than the black of the fields to both sides. No cloud marred the bowl of stars I “flew” through that night.
For it was flying I did, that cool summer night out on that flat piece of prairie highway. Riding the open frame of my bike, I pedaled through outer space…As the tires I could not see ate up the miles, I shared the road with comets and meteors…With moons and planets…I soared through the universe, alone among the heavens, at speeds I now see Verlyn would understand…Thank you sir, for the trip down memory lane…