Sometimes I have this nagging feeling that I live on a planet that is not my own, where all of a sudden the world takes on a different hue, as if the color of my lenses have changed; and everything that seems ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Take, for instance, the marvelous sensation of driving at dusk, in some lonesome and half-forgotten spot in central Kansas. The sun has set some time ago, and is sending out the last gasps of light to the horizon nearly choked by darkness. The crescent moon, thin as a needle, makes the dark circle it is tied to nearly tangible, if only I looked for it hard enough.
It is light enough enough that you can tell the grasses are there, but dark enough to where you cannot make out the individual tufts. Little swells of pastures and fields roll on into the world, to meet the dying horizon. It is the sort of landscape that I feel like requires a music of its own, a minor key from some haunting woodwind. An empty feeling starts in my stomach and goes up till it reaches my throat, and the world shifts.
It's as if I have a larger view, not quite a bird's eye but not quite a human's gaze. I can see the world gently turning on into the night, and the moon hanging above, mostly darkened; and this darkly blue sky rimmed with a dusty green horizon somehow seems like a different wrap entirely, a strangely foreign blanket over strangely foreign soil. The grasses darken, and the world looks like a moody Pluto, far from the sun and yet hanging onto existence.
The lonely wind sings over these hills with the slightest flavor of chill. It whispers to me that the whole land is empty; this is a new planet, and I have suddenly left the old one behind.
The minutes that pass are immeasurable, marked only by the emerging stars above; then the dusk dies, and the night comes on like a slow burn.
Then the vision leaks away from me, and gradually I hear the sounds of life again, seeping into my ears.
Yet some measure of this sight, this lonely land with foreign hills, remains with me. And the next day, everything I've seen before has a different look to it—an aura of possibility, that this world I live on might have been a different world.
And somehow that makes me grateful that Kansas is, in fact, Kansas; and that I stand on rich brown soil rather than the windblown red of Mars.