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Summer has taken me now to Aurora, Colorado, in a hasty decision to furthermore put off thoughts of returning to school.

And guess what?

I think I understand Coloradans… growing up in a place like this….the very sky is telling you you’re limitless.

Yet as I was walking today with the Rockies in a hazy dusk-violet backdrop, kissed by drops of soft rain with each step, I came upon a sunflower bush bearing two faces.
One face full, alive, the other curled at its ends and dripping down its stem.
And I thought to myself, funny how you can grow on the same bush and look a different thing entirely.

Why was one flower dying while the other one was bright yellow and bold against the sky? Why was one sagging and turning a sickly mustard color, the other one shouting at your eyes with a boldness that dared you to just try and look away.

Under the limitless sky I pondered the two faces. My thoughts wandered not only about the sunflowers, but about the planes circling this limitless sky all day, planes that were probably somewhere up there still. Planes, no not just planes, really, but fighters. Ready to strike down what we so hastily labeled our enemy, if need be. All air force bases across the nation and maybe even the world had a color change this past week as we watched and heard the news; people out there aren’t too happy with the way we do things around here.

It’s strange. Strange to think some of them, most of them, have never seen the way the sunflowers around here watch the sun go down the Rockies, bodies shifting with the wind without a fight. Some of them haven’t seen the way some sunflowers droop and some live and yet sunflowers stay on the same branch, close, mirroring each others’ movements because they are kin.

Some of them have never smelled the rain hit the pavements of a neighborhood where moms and kids shout at each other, yes, but in the evening they stroll hand-in-hand or bike-beside-bike in a silence as they stare into the faint yellow and orange of the end. Realizing that the day is over and grumpy morning was years ago.

Thismorning I went with Grammie and Tom to the mall and Tom talked about World War II and Grammie talked about the best way to bake Chocolate Nutella muffins (start with zilch; start from scratch–they turn out sweetest that way).

Colorado rained as it shined under ninety-one degrees.

I blew a dandelion into a field of corn-yellow grass mixed with multiple patches of green. Mmm.

I thought about how I’d climb all the mountains and when I finally conquered Longs Peak, that man who just hiked it back in July with his cello would do it again, and would be up there playing when I arrived and all my breath would come back and I would finally dream, awake.

But then we couldn’t get into the base today to buy Tom’s medicine, because I didn’t have my I.D. They were doing 100% check-ups today.¬†Al Qaeda wanted us dead, and I wished they wouldn’t because I didn’t want us dead, and I wished they wouldn’t because I didn’t want anybody wishing them dead.

Soon we left the mall and crossed the street, and the giant sign “Century” pierced through the blue-gray day and I thought about the dead, God rest their souls, whose eyes had seen it last lit up in the midnight sky. Before they knew anything of people who harbored desires of death for death’s sake toward them, specifically.

Under the limitless sky here I see mountains that can hold you or throw you, rain that can grow gardens or drown dogs. People who will move like nature; swaying in the wind with multiple faces on the same branch, in the same way. Unpredictable, limited.

I can close my right eye and see the full flower trying to raise itself even higher, close my left and see the one with its head toward the ground. With both eyes open I see them all.

When I do a 360 I can’t see the entire sky but I know what it’s like. It’s limited, no matter how it makes me feel, and I am too. Waiting with the sunflowers for the moment when it does something new.

I am firm and drooping, both facing upward and finding my way to the ground, eager to see something new.

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