I woke up this past Tuesday morning to a too-bright-too-close sky; pale-yellow, opaque, equally begging for and denying sun break. No distinguishable clouds--just a blanket of sick-yellow--cloaking my apartment’s view of mountains, winding streets, train tracks, and industrial eyesores.
Grotesque and beautiful and speaking, the sky bore a message, and I was its awe-struck audience.
This alarmingly bright ceiling-cloud was actually smoke. It had carried over from the 5 million acre Western wildfires scorching Washington, Oregon, California, and displacing hundreds of thousands; its color had changed on its way here to Charlottesville-- no longer haunting hues of orange or red, but still, a harrowing symbol of the ravaged earth it leaves behind.
Grotesque and beautiful and speaking, the sky bore a message, and I was its awe-struck audience:
“Look westward at my trail:
See the hell that sends me,
Burnt yellow pine and California buckeye that deliver me,
The world ablaze that I have scorched and parted--
To meet you,
What does one say back? Perhaps that all anything does anymore is burn...
There is horror in looking out at a talking sky -- one that should be blue or gray or navy or black, (or if none of these colors, at least translucent) to see eerie, omnipresent orange; to see hellish red; to see nothing and everything at once, and to wonder if the taproots of those burnt woods are still intact below.
What does one say back?
Perhaps that all anything does anymore is burn; ceilings of smoke sit squarely atop our heads; walls of haze conceal hands previously meant for holding.
Perhaps, also, that all we do is lie under weighted worlds, weighted skies, weighted blankets, shrouded from one another yet wholly invoking rain or mist or some offering from the true-clouds above the smoke one: something to quell these burning trees and to salve our blistered skin and swollen minds.
My rebuttal to that smothering yellow voice is this:
Find me here, blazing sky--
find my taproot exposed and singed,
awaiting true-clouds and salvation.
Find the hands hidden by smoke walls.
They, too, branch from blistered taproots:
hurt but still intact,
Daring you to
See us, too.