The Sky’s the Limit- a Poetic look at De-converting
The pictures I drew of my home, when I was a child, showed the typical square house and triangle roof with a thick strip of green across the bottom of the page and a similar strip of blue at the top. After all, grass is green and found under our feet, and the sky is blue and found high above our heads.
I asked no questions about whether what I drew matched what could be seen if I were to walk outside; I simply drew what everyone knew to be true.
A little older, I sat with my crayons in the back of the family station wagon and looked out the window toward the horizon. The clear, blue sky was not simply above me, but came all the way down to meet the golden, yellow fields we drove past. I drew a picture of a house, in the middle of a blank piece of paper. Then I used up half of my blue and my green crayons as I coloured ground and sky until they met each other behind the house.
I didn’t ask why I saw no blue close around me if the sky truly met the ground; I just drew what I thought I saw.
I joined Air Cadets while in high school, and I got to fly above the clouds. I looked at the patchwork pattern of fields below me, and the curious shapes of the tops of nearby clouds. I was in utter awe.
I never asked why the blue of the sky was still at a distance, even though I was above the clouds. I never thought about why there was no blue between myself and the clouds, or myself and the ground. I knew the sky was blue, and never thought about it, even while flying in the sky.
As an adult, it became my job to teach others what I knew. Students never ask the questions I expect, so I always feel the need to over-prepare. One day, I prepared myself to teach that the sky was blue, and began to think of all the questions and challenges I might face. The sky is blue, of course. You can go outside and see for yourself, except when the sky is overcast with clouds, or when the sun is setting. The sky is not blue at night, of course, and when you go up into the sky the blue is still above you or ahead of you instead of all around you.
As my thoughts chased themselves around my head, I realized that I did not know as much as I thought I had. I began to try to research questions such as “Why is the sky blue?” or “How high is the sky?” or even, “Is the sky blue?” The research was harder and more time-consuming than I’d imagined. I worked far into the night, each question leading to another question instead of the simple answers that satisfied me as a child.
Finally, I walked outside and looked up. There wasn’t a speck of blue to be seen. There was only darkness, generously sprinkled with dots of light. I gazed at the stars, and thought of each as a sun, some with their own planets in orbit. I imagined I could see straight out and see other planets, solar systems, and galaxies.
It suddenly struck me that there was nothing standing between myself and infinity.
For the first time in my life, I began to wonder if there was any such thing as a sky.