Monday, January 10, 2011


My friend asked me to read the manuscript of her novel. The Oklahoma sky plays a major role in the book, and while it didn't really affect me at first read, the longer the book stews in my head, the more I'm reminded of the power of the sky.

Before you accuse me of having had too much coffee or cough syrup, let me 'splain.

I'm not from "here." I'm from there, where the sky is not an unbroken line of horizon, but a silhouette of mountains and skyscrapers. Where a deep breath fills my mind with memories of cold walks to school across frozen earth. The fight for forward progress recalls steel mills and coal. Where a sniff of summer grass hearkens back to softball games and cool summer rainstorms. Where the sense of home resonates even as it no longer exists for me as "home." There is not the wide open expanse but it does not feel crushed.

Here, in Oklahoma, the sky is a vast extremity, extending from earth to air without interruption. (Of course there are buildings and skyscrapers in Oklahoma. Just go with me, mkay?). Breathing in the Oklahoma air, my memories extend, but not as far back as childhood. This smell of home is of a fresh new marriage, birthing babies and thick summers.

Running last week, I paid particular attention to the grey clouds breaking apart, the sun fighting its way through. I thought of how the hills here would not be classified as such in Pennsylvania. It seems I have one leg firmly planted in the literal here and now of Oklahoma. And one reluctant to leave the past, literal and figurative home, of Pennsylvania.

Do others exist in such a divided mind? Do you live looking forward and backward simultaneously? Can my mind coexist in memories and hopes? Is there another way? Just wondering.

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