This seemed on the face of it so small a thing that from a certain angle it was hardly worth the telling. But it was there, if only for a moment.
And I was sitting on the sofa just two weeks ago, not late, a little before ten p.m., when a bright light flew silently past a window which, high in the wall and from where I sat, looked out over the neighborhood, at the sky just above the houses across the street. It was a very bright white ball, moving fast, though not shooting as a meteor would shoot, but slower than that, and it was low in the air, low to the ground, maybe one or two hundred feet above. It happens sometimes that I can see naval fighter jets that come flying over through this same window from that very spot, and they will cross at the same low altitude, but this was not that – this white light was soundless. Not quiet, but soundless. The jets, when they come for their practice runs at the simulated aircraft carrier flight deck nearby, are anything but. They’ll shake the nerves right out of your spine.
The window, at that angle, offers a very narrow view out, since I was some distance from it, and it is small and high up the wall above the stairs. That this bright, low light flew past that specific area, from right to left, just so that I could see it, struck me as not an accident, but as something that I was supposed to see. I ran to the window, jumped up the steps to look for more, but it was gone. I don’t remember being able to see much of the stars, whether it was clear or overcast or what – that didn’t seem to matter at the time, since I was certain it wasn’t a shooting star. Something in me came back to life then and I felt excited again, as if something wonderful were near, like this was an announcement of sorts, letting me know it was still around. It was very much like the light I saw shoot off over the freeway one night in Indiana, while driving cross-country. For all I know, it’s the same light. For all I know, it’s nothing.
Coming then, as this did, just before the regular drive I make inland to Utah at this time of year (and which I’m currently in the midst of), while making preparations and coming to grips with leaving the island home that I’ve only recently come to feel I’ve got real roots in, I imagine this as a signal of a similar crossing. I like to think that I have an ongoing relationship to something inexplicable, and that these teasing hints and subtle clues are perhaps just the surface, and that they in and of themselves have meaning. Yet I’ve been reluctant to write up this account, brief and peripheral as it is, on that possibility that I’ve only imagined such a relationship, while this flat and lifeless feeling creeps back over me, rendering everything meaningless.
Perhaps this isn’t a matter of choosing one thing over another – fantasy or reality, belief or disbelief. I’ll never prove anything to anyone, and not to myself either. For now, I’m driving over a flat earth, one that seems sometimes to glow in the gathering night from within, and it is spectral and strange, and I’m amazed that I can see at all, and I think of how I love the earth, and that the world is warm, even where it is blasted and dead and cold, and that in it there are stories still to be made and told, and that I am still this squirming thing that is alive and weird and staring, and exactly and always right here.