Today is Saturday, July 22, 2017

A moving sky

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As the sun changes, so do the colors of the clouds.

A moving sky is one that makes you want to keep on going. It doesn’t matter where you are going or if you even have a specific destination. You can be walking, riding or floating. Whatever your means of travel, you want to keep on going and see what is over the next ridge or around the next bend. The sky will make you feel that way.
Most often, these skies appear in late summer but they can appear anytime. They, the skies, are always moving. Often, they are filled with fleecy clouds that move with you or ahead of you. As the sun changes, the color of the clouds and the background changes. So, as you travel on, your scenery changes.
Over one rolling hill you may suddenly come upon just more of the same. Perhaps more grassland or maybe you encounter a previously hidden, deep wash. From a distance, it appeared the prairie went on forever. But as you topped the seeming slight rise, suddenly, a whole new panorama was laid out before you.
In one scene, an antelope moved across the barren plain. He had been hidden by the slight rise and clumps of sage and cactus. Now, from a greater height, you see him moving with dogged determination toward a cattle tank, a watering hole you also had not seen.
In another place, the road before you gives a feeling of endless travel. It appears the road will not end, just goes on into the sunset, never ending. Therefore, neither shall your travel. For you are determined to reach the end of the road.  But does it really end or does it just connect with a greater or lesser road? The sky makes you want to find out.
Gazing upon the changing colors of a sky filled with clouds, I am brought back to the previous question. Does the road ever really end? Looking back upon nearly 70-years of travel, I am made to believe my road has not ended here, just yet.  In five days, hopefully, I will have endured and enjoyed 70-years on this earth. I am confident this road will not so much end as lead to an even better one.
I recall a stormy afternoon in South Dakota. I had been stalking whitetails across some broken ground. As I came out of draw, I saw a butte in the distance. I knew there was a road that ran to it from the back side. It had been an Indian battleground of some sort. I wish I had gotten permission to visit. I recall it appearing much darker than the surrounding ground, due to the blood that had soaked it many years before. So the locals told it.
I have been under many moving skies in my life. During my boyhood in Louisiana, I traveled both roads and waterways with a variety of adult guides. I hunted and fished the swamps and bayous when they were still mostly untouched by agriculture and oil. I camped and hunted in the Cocodrie and the Atachaflaya when they were still both true swamps, always wanting to see what was ahead. We went in by boat and came out by boat and seldom saw another human. Often, we would spend a great deal of time, just going around “one more bend” to see what the swamp or bayou held hidden. Those were exciting days. It has changed.  Now, what see on television is not the way it was then, before the IC, the Inter-coastal Canal.
In 20-years of rodeoing, I was constantly under moving skies. I wish I knew how many miles I logged in a variety of cars and trucks. Except for one thing, make that two, I always dreaded driving across Kansas in the daytime. I liked the rodeos and their prize money and I liked the way you could see so much sky. Other than that, I hated traveling Kansas. But those prairie skies were endless.
I lived out west for several years. The skies in my then, home state of Wyoming could be fearsome. Watching a winter storm gather in the Tetons could be scary and often with good reason. Sometimes, when you reach pieces of higher ground, you see hazard approaching long before it gets to you. The sky will warn you.
I hope before God turns my earthly ignition off, I see a few more moving skies. I no longer travel just for the pure joy of going somewhere. I still want to see what is around the next bend of a creek or bayou and what lies over the next hill. The difference is, now, I just make the vision up and share it with y’all.
Heck, all fiction writing is, is putting a daydream down on paper. Look that the pictures and take your own trip. Surely you can make up a story to go with them.

Contact John L. Sloan --

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