Do you remember those summer days as a kid when you would run out of things to do? When you would stop running, swimming, biking, playing and exploring?
I don’t know if I truly ran out of things to do, or if I knew that I just needed to catch my breath for a moment. So what would I do? I’d lie down and look at the sky.
Me and my friends would bike to the nearest hill, ditch our bikes and lie down in the grass, keeping our eyes on the sky above. As the clouds would move, blocking and unblocking the sun, we’d guess at what shapes we could see – animated characters, pets, toys, monsters, class mates – anyone and everything could be seen in the fluffy clouds above.
And once we had exhausted our lists, we would lie silent, each enjoying the view and the show, not needing to talk or brag, enjoying a summer afternoon watching the sky above.
But soon we could tell by the time of day, that it would be time to go home for dinner, and we would race down the hill, chasing each other as we laughed and yelled on our way home. But I would still keep an eye on the sky, wondering where the clouds were going next and if more were on their way to where we were.
After dinner, with my Mum’s comment to not go far, I would go to our backyard and lie down on the grass again. Every night the sky would change again, with the clouds and sky highlighted in the shades of yellow, orange, red and pink from the setting sun. It was always familiar and yet always unique, as the sun slipped below the horizon and I would head to the back door, knowing that the street lights would come on and my time outside was done. I’d say good night to the clouds, knowing they would welcome me outside again tomorrow.
As an adult I think of those summer days, when I didn’t know deadlines and alarms, when my parents made my schedule easy – a day spent outside, constantly on the move, until I was told to sit still. The clouds and the sky were just as interesting to me as a movie – and for my idyllic memories, were always big fluffy clouds that rarely brough rain, set against a bright blue sky.
I wonder whether my life as traveller was launched in those moments – wondering where the clouds were going and wanting to go there. Looking for the perfect spot to lie down in the grass and watch the clouds seems like a perfect pursuit.