Today we went to Lake Catherine State Park where a giant snowstorm hit right before Christmas and caused a lot of damage to the park. We hiked two trails today, clearing debris out of the way and chainsawing up to 80 ft trees that fell and were blocking the paths. We worked side by side with a group of retirees who spend their time hiking and maintaining trails in the Arkansas state parks. Something I’d totally be down doing in the future.
I’m in 4th grade, and my mother and step-father – days into marriage number 2 –move us back to Hot Springs. The house is round (my step-father tells me the previous owner died there, running in circles looking for a corner to shit in) and situated beside the 7th hole of a golf course around which the whole gated community is built. It’s a beautiful place, but really, neither I nor any member of my family has any business living in a gated community, much less one with a golf course.
This place also has a community pool. I never get to swim there because we move to this place in November and vacate the following March. The pool, being a convenient, central location, also serves as the school bus stop. In case you’ve never gone to public school in rural Arkansas, I’ll fill you in on one of the sublime pleasures of the overall experience: The bus rides to and from school are never less than an hour. In this instance, it’s 2 and a half.
I grow accustomed to waking up at 5 a.m. and being at the bus stop at 5:45 to catch the bus at 6 to be at school by 8:30. One morning, I’m the first to arrive. Being the middle of winter, it’ll still be dark for at least another hour and a half. I climb up to sit on what will be the concessions counter starting in May while I wait for the spoiled little shits I ride the bus with to show up.
I’m looking out at the parking lot, practicing meditaion to take my mind off the cold, when I see a white light coming up the street toward me. I assume it’s a motorcycle, but as it gets closer I’m not hearing an engine. Then there are two white lights.
They slowly separate at the far end of the lot and each takes a street leading to either of the lot’s side entrances, where they enter the lot opposite each other. The two lights stop with a short distance between them in the center of the lot about 50 feet from where I’m sitting. I’m in awe, and I have no way to logically explain what I’m seeing (balls of lightning travelling in an intentionally symmetrical manner, right?). I’m afraid that if I speak to whatever it is that I’m looking at I’ll scare it away.
The two lights change color, one to red and the other blue. They start to rotate around each other, slowly at first and then picking up speed. Soon they’re rotating so quickly that the colors disappear and they seem to merge back together, still floating in the middle of the lot maybe 3 feet above the ground.
I see light against the trees and hear an engine as a car approaches on the street to my right from behind the pool complex. The light I’ve been watching, maybe coincidentally, chooses this moment to start an ascent – again, slowly at first and then gathering speed. Soon it’s too far up to see anymore.
When the approaching car arrives, no one reports having seen anything strange. I get made fun of a lot as it is, and I’m not about to disclose having just seen a UFO.