We played the game day and night, it seemed like a completely different game from darkness to light, but the fun was ever present… somewhere along the way I got too busy or too old to play the game that didn’t cost us a penny, which was often more than we had in the good ole’ days.
Kids do it naturally, even when it doesn’t make sense to. It’s not as enjoyable when it’s hot outside, nor is it when the grass is crawling with critters, especially the ones you can’t see. That’s probably the biggest reason I quit lying in the grass, hands clasped behind our heads, palms cradling our empty noggins, while we watched the show in the sky.
I do recall on more than one occasion being targeted for dinner, jumping up, slapping the ants that were swarming me and my friends, looking like a lunatic to the folks far enough away to think we were trying to slap the demons out of us.
Other times I recall gazing and pondering the great expanse of sky with my head lying right against the grass covered firmament. I remember getting slightly dizzy just lying there taking the grand expanse above in.
Like all the other sunburnt kids taking the rare break from playing, even more rare; lying dead still with our eyes facing toward heaven, we’d look for familiar shapes in the clouds as they drifted and morphed across the stage of the atmosphere, pointing and declaring the shapes, as excited as Christopher Columbus discovering the New World.
As awesome as the sky is during the day and the kaleidoscope of color born new each day in the Arizona sunsets, the crystal clear sky made the nights even more magical. We’d lie and study our personal and brilliant moon, focusing and swearing we’d just caught a glimpse of the man in the moon or the cow jumping over it.
We’d imitate the distant coyotes howling at the beaming ball in the sky until we’d nearly perfected the art. Funny how some games never grow old… even at my age now, I don’t need to be lying on my back in the cool grass to enjoy the game of searching, finding, and pointing out with animation, almost like the first time we’d spotted them; the Big and Little Dipper, or the Milky Way, or a shooting star.
I remember making a wish in the millisecond flight of the falling star, or for those of us who were experts, we knew it was really God sending another angel to earth. We also knew instinctively that the stars were really angels peeking through the floor of heaven, and that the twinkling was really just the angels winking to us.
My wife and I were out of town, the grass was cool in the late afternoon. The park was filled with children, God’s children, young ones and old ones, like us. I pushed the blades of grass aside to get a glimpse of the scalp of earth. The coast was clear.
“Lets lay down,” I suggested. My wife and I relived the days of our youth… the days that in some ways we were instinctively wiser, before the ants and loss of innocence, the days of amazed and bewildered.
It’s amazing how a heartbeat slows as we gaze at the sky and realize our humble place in this world.