Under The Sky

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I went walking at twilight. There was a man lying on the ground. I rushed over, thinking something had happened.

‘Don’t worry, love,’ he said. ‘I do this every evening. I like how the trees look when I lie this way, framed by the sky.’

I crouched down beside him and I could see what he meant. Seen this way the branches of the tree appeared like etchings in stained glass, leadlight pieces splayed against the darkening blue.

‘This is what the birds see when they look up from their perch on the lower branches. What dogs see when they sniff the air. What children see as they scrabble in the dirt. When I lie here I get a sense of the vastness of life, of nature. And how small a part we have to play in it. Yet in our arrogance, we think ours is the only part worth playing.’

The man was right. Lying there, under the sky, I could only see what was above me, not what was around me. The sense of great events unfolding was disarming. There was transcendence in the grass below and the sky above.

There was a tone in the clouds and the leaves worthy of the finest painter. There was a feeling that this was the only place in the world to be, mesmerising as the gentle fall of a cloak.

When I stood upright the world felt strange. The buildings and roads did not have the dignity of the sky. The evening blue was gone, turned to shadow before it hit the ground. The world seemed soaked with gloom. I felt as if I had lost something I had only just found.

How often do we walk, looking only at our feet? Or gazing straight ahead as we weave through a path of real and imagined obstacles? Maybe we should look up more, in spite of our increased chances of falling. For the sky is there, seemingly unbroken and infinite, familiar as the voice of a friend, steadfast and enduring as the arms of a mother embracing a child.

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22 thoughts on “Under The Sky

  1. Another great insight! Wow, Selma you blow me away with your diverse writing talents. You really are gifted.

    So glad I found my way to your blogs.

    Hugs, G

    PS: The photo was lovely too.

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  2. If I were lying on my back and looking at the sky I would be afraid that I would be judged insane. Indeed, if someone came along and asked me what I was doing and I responded that I was simply looking at the sky I think there would be many who would think me insane. “Don’t you have anything else to do?” they would wonder, “or somewhere to go?” “You must have an awful lot of time on your hands.”

    “Okay, so long”, they would say, muttering to themselves, “What a nutcase.”

    Not many would have responded the way you did, Selma, and actually took a stranger’s word for what he was doing, got on the ground, looked to see and then noticed what he was noticing.

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  3. I think I am going to do that tomorrow at the park and enjoy that moment in time and life… your words are so beautiful, your writing is so amazing and well so uplifting!

    Again… brilliant writing, I wish I could write like you!

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  4. Ive officially run out of new compliments….YOU ARE AMAZING. The End.

    Wow. This is really HIT HOME for me:

    “How often do we walk, looking only at our feet? Or gazing straight ahead as we weave through a path of real and imagined obstacles? Maybe we should look up more, in spite of our increased chances of falling”

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  5. Excellent! Back when it didn’t kill my knees to get down to, and up from, the ground, I would lay back and look at the sky through the trees. It is exactly as you said. I love looking at the ordinary through the eyes of others.

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  6. I’ve done this myself. It takes you to a different place. But even better, choose a cloudless night and lay in the dark staring up to the stars.
    It takes you somewhere even more special. Then turn left at infinity.

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  7. Every time I ask myself … WHY isn’t this lady published?? You produce what I want to read, not what some corporate suit thinks I want to read. More power to your pen (as they say … I suppose it should be keyboard) πŸ™‚

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  8. Hi Selma,
    I’m such a terrible reader — I’m too visual and jumpy — so sometimes I can’t be still enough to really grasp your great prose. Something about this one — the brevity?– helped me really enter the world that you created. I love the different perspectives that you offer. It reminds me to go out and lie down on the grassy surface of the hill nearby. Thanks.

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  9. PAISLEY – it never ceases to amaze me how I can meet a perfect stranger who I might initially be wary of, who turns out to be a philosopher. That kind of thing just blows me away. I also need to remind myself to do this more frequently. It is amazingly freeing!

    GERALDINE – you are far too kind to me. I really like to write about a lot of different things. I find it keeps my mind active. You are kind to say that about the photo, especially as I am an aim and shoot kind of person. No checking the light or anything like that for me. Most of the time the result is rather, er, blurry, LOL.

    LINDA – I feel the same way when I visit your blog because you give me such a chuckle. It is a real skill to be able to write in a humorous way. To make people laugh is such a gift.

    CRAFTY GREEN – it really does offer an incredible perspective. I used to do it quite a lot as a kid but had forgotten all about it. It’s funny the things that make you remember.

    RICHARD – I think I am slightly nutty too, if the truth be told. There was just something about what the guy was doing that appealed to me. I’m glad I tried it!

    DAOINE – there are lots of really interesting people out there with equally interesting stories!

    TBALL – oh, you are the ultimate sweetie. You should do it tomorrow. Find a nice quiet spot and just absorb the vastness of the sky.

    MELEAH – I am very guilty of rushing along not really paying attention to what is around me. It is amazing how much even slowing down a little bit can give you a great view of things. Thanks for your lovely feedback.

    KAREN – oh no. My old knees can’t take it either. Apparently I have housemaid’s knee which is a polite way of saying my knees are screwed and I am getting old. I’ll never have a career as a cat burglar because my joints creak too much. Someone told me to try fish oil but it gives me wind. I don’t know what’s worse – the wind or the creaking joints. πŸ˜€

    ANTHONY – oh yes. The sky is such a source of inspiration. Turning left at infinity sounds brilliant. I’m going to try it!

    CHRIS – it was definitely a drug-free view. YAY. I’m sure you could see some amazing sights in the wide open spaces where you live!

    GROOVY – it’s so important to get a different view of things. I’m all for it. I can just imagine you stooping and climbing. LOL

    TRAVELRAT – how kind you are. Awww, a million thanks!!!!

    CAROLINE – I would love to see you draw something like this. It would be truly wonderful!

    EPIPHANY – oh absolutely. Really, so much of life is how we perceive it. I like to challenge my perceptions from time to time. XX

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  10. JONAS – I would love to try cloudbusting. If I were successful I could fix Australia’s water shortage. I also love the song by Kate Bush. One of my faves! Great to hear from you.

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  11. Love the photograph … looking up rather than down is always such an enriching experience. Chance meetings with strangers sometimes leaves one with some remarkable insight.

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