Looking Up | Mark Lindsay

Lately I've taken to walking at sunset. This recent habit started on the night that my mother-in-law died. Alone with my memories and sadness, the house and its four walls were closing in on me. Dusk, with its wondrous light, was right outside the door. It lured me out and then I walked. I've been walking at sunset ever since.

Last night I was on that same path as that first night. The sun weakened and fell behind Mt. Tamalpais. I looked up at the azure sky and its last glow of life. I stared straight up at the heavens, something I hadn't done for a long time. Suddenly, I felt like I were floating by, or better yet, standing as still as stone while the overhead trees were whizzing by me like gnarled beasts of the night. It was then that my thoughts rushed back to when I was a small boy.

Back then I did it all the time. I'd stare up to the sky while walking. I did it to the point where people called me silly—or careless. I'd look up partly to see what was there. Mostly, however, I just liked the perspective. Sometimes I'd mix it up and spin around to make myself dizzy. Other times I'd see how long I could stare up without watching where I was walking.

You still see kids do it all the time. They look up at clouds and contrails and their imagination conjures up shapes in the sky. They find rabbits and turtles and angels and faces. Kids know that there are answers up there. It's a whole world of its own.

Most adults don't bother with this. In these somber days of adulthood we mostly look down. We plant our noses in our smart phones to find answers in the glow of little screens. Sometimes we look down past the screens so that we don't trip on our feet. Other times I think we look down because the weight of life seems to push our necks in that direction.

The best view, however, is found when looking up. It's an act of optimism to do so. Last night I pointed my camera that way to see if I might capture the essence of the sky—and that feeling I once had when clouds turned to rabbits right before my eyes. I made a picture that I share with you now.