friday december 12, 2014: i was working later than usual trying to finish up a project that i should have done months ago. it took me a long time to take an interest in this project, but due to the pressure created by the looming deadline or the sudden realization that, what i was working on, was actually important…i finally had an interest. this evening, i was actually immersed in my project, filled with ideas and energy. unfortunately it was now 5pm, and dark as a tim burton movie (get it??). anyway, the problem with having late burst of energy is that by now i was tired, hungry, and the people at home probably needed me for one thing or another.
6:30 pm: on this near-winter night darkness had set in for the evening. most of my coworkers had bolted out long ago, and the building’s creeks become more pronounced and took center stage with only me in the audience. i decided that it was time to stop working and head home. i couldn’t just head directly home however. i needed to get in my daily run, because very early this morning i had flippantly decided that i would just run after work…it will be great! in the morning this always seems like a decent decision, but at the end of the day, i’m wishing i could go back in time and beat myself up.
7:00 pm i was dressed in my running clothes and sitting in my car at the tom watson parking lot near boulder colorado. i had to add some last minute layers, interweave my earbud chords up my arm sleeve and under my knit hat, and i pressed play. i took one last sip of water, locked the car and headed south across the dams. it was a lot colder than i expected and a lot darker than it was last night, because there was no moon.
7:15 i found myself running along the top of the north dam, with nothing but darkness on the left side and partially frozen lake water on the right. the skies were quiet and clear. the setting was perfect for the surreal audio book i happened to be listening to at the time. haruki murakami’s “windup bird chronicles” is a very intricate and interwoven story about an ordinary guy living an alternate reality. murakami loves to use a writing technique called chekhov’s gun where every object and every character plays a roll in the plot. if you happen to miss one of murakami’s chekhov guns, you’ve missed out on a critical part of the plot. his novels require full attention, and on this very dark night i gave it all i had.
7:30 the dam was mostly flat and covered with gravel. i could kind of see the path without light, but i wore a headlamp anyway. the footing was very predictable there were no big obstacles or sharp turns, is was quite easy to run without much focus. my mind was focused entirely on the book. with each of my steps in real life, the book more weird and surreal; crazy things were happening to the character in the story, but nothing out of the ordinary was happening to me. i just kept running. i was about mile 2 of a 3 mile run when the story was about to climax. i was completely focused on the book, my heart was beating pretty hard but probably from the book and not from my slow pace. i ran straight ahead not looking at the path, but looking through the path. i have no idea what my face looked like, but i probably looked like i was about to fight someone … or solve a 4th degree quadratic, without a pencil (if you hate math you are probably making the same face right now). good thing there was no one else running that night.
where was i…?
7:45 i arrived at the unlit parking lot, barely able to see my dirty black civic. i had to scan the lot using my headlamp, from left to right hoping to that something shiny on my car would catch my eye. still immersed in my audio book i found my car, i routinely unlocked it, and hopped in. still in running clothes and earbuds i started the 30 minute drive home. everything on earth was dark, no street lights no cars, just my own head lights to guide me forward. after a few miles of dark county roads, i reached the highway. right about that same moment in time, the main character in the story passed back through the “wall” separating his alternate reality and his normal reality. like a subtle shift in wind direction my own normal reality began to change…
8:00 i was driving north bound on the diagonal highway toward longmont colorado. on this night i wasn’t the only car on the road, but i was probably the only one intensely listening to a murakami novel through earbuds…. wearing running clothes. it was easy to drive, all i had to do was stay straight and focus on the lines on the road. the cars were sparse and no one was passing each other as if we were all going the same speed. as i drove with my hands at 10 and 2, eyes at 12, and my brain at 13.
8:02 i noticed some air planes directly in front of me with their blinking lights and large turning arcs. they passed in front of me about 15 degrees off the horizon. this was a quite ordinary sight, since the longmont airport was nearby and planes were frequently taking off and landing. what i saw next was quite unordinary.
my non-ordinary reality
8:02.01 looking up just above the blinking lights of the plane, somewhere around 45 degrees from the horizon… i saw three amber colored lights forming the corners of a triangle. the two lights forming the base of the triangle shape were higher up, and the one light forming the peak of the triangle was lower. there was nothing outstanding about these lights at first. just three bright lights that looked more like slow moving stars, all moving in the same direction. i stared as much as i could without losing control of my car. the oddness of the situation combined with the climaxing story-line of an audio book played at full volume, and the sudden introduction of more cars on the highway was becoming a bit too overwhelming for me. i yanked out the earbuds, straightened out the wheel, quickly check my mirrors, and started focusing really hard on the amber lights in front of me.
8:10 i have never seen anything quite like these lights. i am by no means an expert on all things flying, but i am very experienced at staring at the sky. i’m actually very good at staring in general. i notice all kinds of details… i do however tend to overlook very obvious things, but that’s another story. since i was a kid i’ve studied the night sky, always filled with naive hope and wonderment. i however, have never seen anything other than the amazingness of the solitary night sky.
there i was; in the middle of three separate realities. the fantasy world of the murakami novel, the ordinary reality of finishing my run, and the non-ordinary world of seeing something i can’t explain, right in front of me.
8:12 i focused on one of the three lights hoping to get a glimpse of something that would give me a clue as to what was going on. i was looking for anything that would help me put the objects into a pre-labeled category i already had in my head. as i stared, i could see a small light tail periodically appear from each object in the opposite direction it was traveling. this was interesting but helped me to figure out nothing. i pulled back my focus for a second and noticed that i was now looking at only two lights. where did the other one go?? several seconds later the third one reappeared. hmm… i rationalized that it must have flown behind a cloud that happened to be the exact color as the night sky. just as i was about to mark that mystery “solved” , another one of the magical lights would disappear. several seconds later, it reappeared. this is not making any sense i thought to myself. i wished that i had someone with me to help comprehend this. i was coming up with nothing useful. i even consider that i might have driven into an alternate reality just like the book! instead i decided to call this event a non-ordinary reality.
i originally thought the lights were descending downward like a paratrooper. after much checking and comparing with other planes and stars, it appeared that the lights were moving away from me. they were slowing moving down the horizon. they will probably be out of sight soon, i thought to myself.
8:14 i wanted to pull over and watch them from outside my car, but the traffic was heavier than when i started. perhaps i was going way under the speed limit and unbeknownst to me all the cars caught-up. too much traffic to pull over quickly, and besides, the shoulder was kind of small. i decided to try and find the nearest parking lot so i could get out of my car and watch the objects before they leave my gaze. the closest parking lot i could find was sporting goods store that handfuls of people walking to and from their cars.
i pulled into the first spot i found. i was happy to see some people outside their cars ready to go into the store. i needed someone else to confirm what i was seeing. all of the lights were almost out of view except for one. i got out of my car and was about to run over to the group of people and tell them to look up at the sky.
8:15 suddenly i caught myself before i did one of the most embarrassing things of my life. i stayed in my car, and sadly watched the last light drift out of the night sky. not sure why i was so sad about them leaving. i think the sad part was not being able to figure out what it was! i hate not being able to figure things out.
8:20 as i drove home i thought about how bizarre it might have been for the people in the parking lot.
a dirty 2004 honda civic hurriedly pulls into the parking lot…the driver slams on the brakes, and a guy with crazy gray hair jumps out of the car (the hair was crazy, because i was wearing a winter beanie, and i had pulled it off some time while i was driving). leaving the door open… this crazy guy runs toward them wearing black running tights with running shorts over them… a bright orange safety vest and matching orange shoes. by the time the crazy guy got out the right words to convince everyone to look into the sky, the last object would have been out of view, and then there would have been at the very least an awkward moment where i had to explain what they just missed out on. in the worst case they would have jumped in their cars and locked the doors and called the cops on me, causing me to run away… causing a crazy police chase through the streets of longmont.
8:21 i called up my son and told him about it. i had to tell someone right then and there.
9:00 when i got home i got on the internet and tried to see if anyone saw the same thing as me. low and behold, there have actually been a lot of UFO activity in colorado in the last couple months. i don’t know if what i saw, was a UFO or not, but it did fit the criteria: unidentified, flying and it was an object. :)
i spent the next week running at night as much as possible, hoping to see the same thing. although it may not sound like it, it was quite a bizarre situation. the more time that passes the less real the whole thing feels. i have nothing to reinforce what i saw, and perhaps as the years go by i will hardly remember anything about it…except for this blog.