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Sky Turns Black

Forty years ago a young man spent the summer with his grandparents. They lived in a tiny town. His grandmother talked with him sweetly, showed him where the wild strawberries grew, marveled at his soft hands, introduced him to good friends down the street. His grandfather tried to teach him to use a theodolite, how to lay straight runs of concrete blocks, took him walking in the woods, showed him the shadows under the Hemlock trees.

It was summer. They were at the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone. The sun set late.

From his bed upstairs, the man would look out the window and gaze at the lingering light of the summer night sky. It was hot that year, and a window fan helped cool the room as the sky slowly darkened. He would breathe deeply to smell the air. He would roll over and gaze again and again until the sky beyond the fan was finally black.

His grandparents have long since passed away. The house where they lived is gone. That young man is not young, anymore. But a summer sky on the western edge of the Eastern Time Zone still holds his gaze. It makes him look up again and again. He smells that air. Outside, the summer sky finally turns black, letting the man know that he may finally go to sleep.