The stars shone so bright the sky still appeared blue in the otherwise black night. We cousins often lay in the grass and watched the clouds take shape during the day and dreamed about our futures. That was our form of blue skying it. At night we lay beneath the stars and did the same. Usually someone pointed out the Milky Way. Another would spot the Big or Little Dipper or the North Star. A few shooting stars dove through the sky and fizzled out. We imagined we had been the astronauts that had only recently walked on the moon. We talked about how we might someday actually not only fly in space but live there. We named planets and wished on stars. One conversation would lead to another. We’d each put in our two cents worth, and the talk would somehow go back to the sky…maybe it was because we were on our backs looking up at it. Who know whether we were looking for direction, answers, or entertainment. Maybe we were just bored. We gazed, talked, and dreamed.
And as always, Stuart changed the course of the conversation to aliens and UFOs. I shivered from the cold of the metal pickup truck bed against my back though it felt good on that hot summer night. The shivers were probably more from fear as I waited for the aliens to whisk me away. My cousin pointed out UFO after UFO. When you’re only about seven, airplane lights look very much like you imagine UFOs to look. We were in the middle of nowhere which made an alien abduction probable in our minds. Really, we were just at the edge of our yard, right at the start of the woods, hidden by the trees. The only noise other than our own voices and the occasional adult voices that drifted from the house, were the bullfrog croaks, calls of the whippoorwills, and the drone of the cicadas. After a while, even those sounds seemed to mimic alien life. An occasional owl screech would have us up, running and screaming.
We spent hours throwing our ideas around until inevitably I got so scared I ran crying up the hill to the house. Actually, I was too scared to move, and I was quite annoying, so someone would always have to escort me to the safety of a well lit house. I don’t think my parents were ever fazed as they were used to us running around screaming our heads off, day or night.
As a child, I had the opportunity to blue sky with virtually the sky as the limit. Children are naturally inquisitive and creative. As we grow older, our curiosity is halted. We are told we can’t question certain things. We are told we are only allowed to stretch the fabric of our lives so far. We are trained to be responsible in thought and action. To try to change the pattern of the “normalcy” can cause one to be considered an outcast. Since most of us want to fit in, we often squash those big ideas and conform. Those who proceed with those big ideas often become the innovators of our time.
As an adult, I had the opportunity to blue sky in management. Some ideas panned out. Others were not successful. If I questioned my ideas, I did not always voice them. It took a long time to have confidence enough to not feel rejected by criticism or failure.
I am a person who tends to rely on imagination, intuition, and creativity as opposed to science and logic. My husband is the opposite. Being an engineer, he is analytical. Things just can’t be without reason…everything must have a logical sequence. I’m sure my free spiritedness often drives him to the brink of insanity. I don’t understand many of the theories behind the processes of everyday life nor do I care. I just enjoy the gift of it’s presence. However, we can step out into nature, and we are both at home. We both blue sky while we hike. We don’t always question the same things or go about finding our answers the same way, nor are our big ideas anywhere near the same at times…but the bottom line is that is the one place we both are comfortable in throwing out ideas and welcome the other’s input.
I learned to indulge my creative efforts of blue skying not to the board room but to the sewing room. I throw my idea into art quilting. It’s a place where again for me the sky is the limit. I no longer worry about criticism. I do what I do for me.
Do I blue sky now in other ways? Every day, but not in the ways you probably think. I don’t get dressed in a suit and head out to an office. I simply walk downstairs. I can throw out anything I want in the kitchen, a blog post, a quilt, or other creative endeavors. But where I blue sky most is with a group of people that hold no judgment. They are open to all means of communication. These are small children who blue sky with play doh and crayons. We express ourselves through song and dance. We pretend, and we dream big. Oh, to be a child again…that big blue sky is endless!