The Sky in Arizona Goes on Forever
…so the old songline goes. I remember listening to that staple song as I traveled for the first time from blustery Maine to the unknown expansive Desert of Arizona. My mantra, my theme song, my hope.
Before I returned home to the Desert last year I lived near the ocean for nine years, in a place where the sky felt so much closer on account of its heavy grayness and its habit of sleepily blanketing the ocean.
The simple act of driving in the Desert, now, pulls me back into memory. For some reason it’s behind the wheel that I see, really see, the sky. Layers of color, shooting clouds, light so delicate it changes the way you breathe. In these moments I am here, and I am there too, back where I was when I lived here as a younger woman.
I remember the afternoon blues, I remember pinks and I remember yellow, like an Easter party in the sky. Later a blaze of orange, deep purple, and navy birthed from the memory of gray as time counted down the moments to night. At nighttime, that’s when the show really started.
I remember sleeping outside in the Desert at night: in the deep living woods, nestled in a canyon where faith is implicit, on an outdoor trampoline in a frenetic Phoenix suburb half-dominated by cats. I remember my vision changing with the light so that soon enough shadows and outlines became one, and I had to trust instinct and memory if I would venture outside the cocoon of my sleeping bag.
The sky goes on forever, and it is always changing. That’s what is so familiar to me. An eternal ethereal art installation. A light show. And at night, stars.