Sky blue pink


A sky blue pink evening outside my home


My grandfather Edward Newton, would have called the color of the sky this late summer evening at sunset “Sky blue pink”. My father would call it “cotton candy skies”. No matter how you see it, you sure can’t beat a late summer evening after it has rained.

The warmth of the day, being chased away by the cool of the evening could be seen on our windshield as we drove the back roads home from Bangor on Sunday the 23rd of August. You couldn’t push it back with the defrosters, because of the temperature fluctuations. The wipers only took care of the outside, but to me, it was worth the hassle of fighting to keep the windows clear, to be driving on such a wonderful evening!

We had the windows down, and the music was playing on the radio. The fields were wet from the late afternoon showers, the sky was lit up in several different colors, but sky blue pink seemed to dominate! Especially in the west. In other directions the sky was a mix of blues and gray with the remnants of storm clouds, and fog blanketed the low lands in the fields where cattle were still grazing before dark.

These are the evenings I look forward to, because I know my much adored cooler nights are waiting in the wings! In just a few short weeks, the air will be heavy with the smell of fallen leaves in the woods, and the first hints of wood smoke, likely from back yard bonfires, but maybe from where a few folks lit a fire in the woodstove, just to take the chill off.

When I was a younger man, an evening like this would have been spent walking along Washington Street in Bath, following the Kennebec River, breathing in the salty air. More often that not, I would find myself on the bank of the river at some point, where I would watch the tides fight the currents.

Some evenings the tide would be high, and the river would be calm. You could watch the mist rising off the water like smoke. Flocks of seagulls would raft up in the center of the river for the night.

I tried to share the evening with my 10 year old son, but he was lost in the world of technology, and hand held video games.

I catch myself wondering what it would have been like growing up in my parent’s and grandparent’s time, when a sky blue pink night was admired from front porches, and backyards all across the state. A time when high school sports, community dances, a game of cards, and the local radio disc jockeys were the entertainment.

For me, it is important that my son know what sky blue pink, and cotton candy skies are. My Grandfather Ed has been gone since the 70’s. Likely only my mom, and her siblings remember the things he used to say. I often wonder if my cousins know that he spoke of sky blue pink.  I wonder when they see a night like this if they think back, and remember a time they shared with him.

Perhaps we all need to turn off our electronics a few nights a month, and enjoy some time exploring the dusk hours with our families! Talk to your children about things you recall doing on a nights like we just had on this beautiful Sunday in late August!

Catch a high school football game, and cheer for the home team even if you don’t know any of the players. Visit a park with a barbeque grill, and cook some burgers and hotdogs, but be sure to bring along some extras to share with some random folks also out enjoying the evening! And when you look up at the sky take the time to see for yourself the magic of sky blue pink!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.