jet streams

I shade my eyes from the sun and squint into the sky where he is pointing. “What do you think that’s about?” he asks, then goes on to explain that the three jetliners heading south, white trails like chalk marks in their wakes, are not commercial airliners, but rather a conspiracy dumping chemicals in the air to kill off all of mankind.

“We’ll all be dead in fifty years,” he calls to me as I casually saunter off, Rudy at my heels.
“I’ll be gone before then,” I reply over my shoulder.
“But your children won’t, and their children won’t,” he says in a raised voice and then adds, “Don’t you care?”

The sun beats down pleasantly on the back of my head as thoughts reel inside it, the stranger and his dog receding behind me in the field:

calvin might not live that long either and i won’t have grandkids to worry about and what does this guy know about anything but i suppose he could be right and maybe it’d be a blessing though today is not the day to consider the end of things and bacteria’s gonna take over the world anyway long after we cease to exist because we might just obliterate each other—or neglect each other to death—if these crazy extremists can’t give up their lust for greed and power and besides the sun feels so good right now and the air so fresh and i couldn’t care less about that loopy guy and what makes him think i should just because he walks his dog past mine on a sunny day at ten in the morning thinking i’m fair game and perhaps i should have listened but what the hell for because he’s not sound and i should have a healthy skepticism about strangers approaching me and chastising me about not caring what they think, shouldn’t i?

And so I walk home at a snail’s pace, my gimpy dog limping along. We stop to say hello to Woody who throws Rudy a couple of treats. Once home, I sit myself down in a cedar chair in the backyard and call Mom. Though I don’t think she knows me anymore I can tell she recognizes my voice as someone she loves, as someone she desperately wants to see. “When’re you coming to visit me?” she asks for the umpteen-thousandth time. I say, "Soon," before asking her if she’s happy. “Youbetch!” she replies, then I ask her if she is ever sad and she tells me, “I don’t think so.” We talk some more about the birds, the chipmunks and the autumn leaves then we hang up the phone with our usual I love yous, the sun still beating down on my head. For a moment all is right in the world, even Mom, three-thousand miles away, happy for now despite her Alzheimer’s, and I look up into a cloudless sky painted with the white streaks of jetliners and I’m content with the thought that someone is very simply heading home.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. Such sweetness here, Christy. And the writing is exquisite.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful. I'm not going to try to say anything more than that.