George Bernard Shaw once said that "if a man is a deep writer all his works are confessions."
I guess I must be pretty deep because all my writing borders on the confessional. Or at least that's the way it feels to me -- a simple plea to the authorities that an exception will be made in my case: it's not madness, sir, it's just me.
That said, I have a new confession to make . . . I just saw a UFO. It happened, or the sighting did, in Sapello Canyon in Northern New Mexico. We stood on the long porch of Alice and Jim Carney's ranch house at about 11:15 a week and a half ago and a fantastic light appeared in the sky. To me, it looked like a star of Bethlehem on a Christmas card; points of light, top and bottom, long and lancing, diamond-bright. My wife Lorry said, "Oh, look, it's changing color!"
It was -- it did -- it had. Changing as fast as we saw each incandescent spin of the color wheel. And after the light show, a misty dissolve to a tiny pinpoint that eventually darkened to nothing. Fireworks? No, the lights were soundless, and no more than a quarter mile away. Air balloons? Not halfway to midnight with no horizon gleam for reflection or refraction. A plane? What, a soundless plane? And then, the light disappearing and returning in the same geometric formation of a five-pointed star.
We fetched two more witnesses -- unfortunately, inebriated nephews. (Never trust a naked bus driver or an inebriated nephew, I always say, but they were there and we needed them). When the nephews burst out onto the porch, the light returned, as if for an encore. New brilliances -- green and lavender. There it hovered on the ridgeline, defying all mental process. The happy porchmen belched and proclaimed, first one then the other: "That's not a UFO, it's a USO."
"What's that?" I asked, keeping my eye on the shimmering in the night sky.
"An Unidentified Suspended Object," one answered.
"The other added, "You writing another book?"
Then they both went inside and the screen door closed. The otherworldly glowy spectacle lasted another moment or two, then it too slammed the screen door in outerspace and retreated into the void.
I was left standing there, wondering with my wife, my daughter and the foxtail night. The sky looked so much darker after it was gone. And the canyon, a kind of unwilling witness, so much quieter somehow. The deep stillness outside even swallowed up the revelers and their sudden bursts of indoor laughter.
"What was it?" I asked Lorry and Hannah. But they could only say what it wasn't -- none of the things the mind wanted it to be. In truth, no one seemed to want the possibility of what it might be, a thing totally unexplained. Oh, I've heard explanations, all right. The next day someone said, "You may have seen anti-matter that spans gaps in the time-space-continuum." I heard words like "space warpage" and "spiral tracks" and someone who'd seen those infamous fireballs that hover low to the ground in New Mexico said the old ones believed they were witches. Going back to Shaw, he said, "All memoirists are liars." If this is folklore, fakelore, ufo or uso, let me know, will you, cause I haven't been sleeping too well nights.
Gerald Hausman, author and storyteller, calls himself a native of the world. He is the author of 70 books, some of which have been made into films, many of which have been translated into foreign languages. His latest book, The American Storybag, was released by Stay Thirsty Press in October, 2010.
All opinions expressed by Gerald Hausman are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.