it’s hot, it’s humid, it’s dark

the cricket’s and katydid’s songs are syncing

and there’s vines growing on everything

hazy downpours cooling hot night heat

it’s the mid 1990’s, northern virginia

i’m a young man growing

it was overwhelming

eyes open absorbing everything


this hot summer night, the crew

as we would often do

we all decide to throw our skateboards in our trunks

get in our cars and ride

to meet at this smooth concrete on grade foundation slab 

some kid had found and spread by word of mouth

if you knew the spot, you knew it was called white banks

and we skated there in the dark

on the lobby floor of a future office building

where the slab thickened for the elevator and stairway cores

there was a nicely rounded hip about 24 inches high

i wasn’t good for much on a skateboard compared to the rest of the crew

i can count on one hand the number of flip tricks in my life i’ve ever landed

but i remember having fun popping some big backside 180 ollies and pop shuvits

all of us busting tricks off that corner for hours

thunder claps, skate deck slaps

huge lightning bolts zipping to the ground

whipping and arcing between clouds

massive thunder clouds pulsating and flashing close to us

just on the other side of the dulles toll road from us

but not right over us

i remember watching closely

the kids i knew were landing tricks

the exact moment lightning bolts split open the air

dude, dude, you just landed that and the lightning it, it, it…

i couldn’t skate, i just stopped, i was silent watching, saying nothing

felt like everything was connecting in that moment

my eyes so open

a memory that comes back 25 years later

like it was yesterday


sometimes i’m still that eyes open kid

absorbing everything

silent cuz i can’t figure out the words to say after all i’ve just seen

hey, no, eyes open kid, yo, yo, wake up, say something

it’ll be alright, it won’t be overwhelming

what’s important is what’s connecting

like a lighting bolt between us all