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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Under a Missouri Sky

Just before yesterday's surprising blue sky was covered by a purple cloud blanket speckled with pink, I got to see three contrails in the sky at the same time. Nothing unusual in that here in the middle of the country, but the three puffy electric yellow lines formed an equilateral triangle.

Now how on earth am I supposed to paint that? More to the point if I do, who's going to believe me? And if they do, will it change the fact that a sky painted with a big yellow triangle just looks silly? In fact I didn't tell you (because I knew you wouldn't believe me), but about a month ago on a short two-mile walk I saw something even sillier up there where clouds should be.

The perfect Missouri blue sky that afternoon, was imperfected only by contrails. Six of them. So what, you say, reminding me again that this is the middle of the continent. And you've got a point. Once upon a time, on a bicycle in rural Nebraska, I looked up and counted fifteen contrails simultaneously visible. But much like the roads in the middle of that state, the aeroplanes also only went due east or west. Six stripes in the sky, too perfect to paint.

However the six contrails visible on my walk last month did not form parallel lines. No, together they formed a perfect Star of David. See? I said you wouldn't believe me. It's kind of like an elaborate Etch-a-Sketch played by friends who fly jets. It would only take seven such pilots to co-ordinate almost meeting over Kansas City, and they could draw a house. I never did see the actual 'planes and we are fairly close here to Whiteman Air Force Base, home of the Stealth, but come on, blue sky, white Star of David - stealth?

Four and half years ago, on September 11th - yes that September 11th - the blue sky over the Missouri and Kansas line, had a huge perfect circle of an airliner, stopped in the sky, waiting to be told what to do next. It's that memory of the day I'll paint sometime, and not the huge queues for petrol on the streets below.

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