Thursday, March 1, 2012

Look up

I have a sky fetish. If I ever wreck my car in a really stupid, embarrassing way, it won’t be because I was texting; it will be because I was taking a picture of the sky through my sunroof or gaping at the clouds instead of looking at the traffic. Or maybe it will be that I was texting someone, after all – but it will be that I had to tell them OMG – where are you? Can you see the sky? Look at it! LOOK NOW!

Through the sunroof

I especially love the sky in autumn – the vividly blue and limitless ceiling that only appears after the stifling, late-summer humidity has cleared out. But I also love the sky in winter – the bright, scudding clouds and the searing sunsets that seem fueled somehow by the cold and the wind. And I’m a fan of sunrises all year long. And storms. And the moon! Gah, don’t even get me started on the moon.

When I go hiking I trip kind of a lot, mostly because I’m usually staring at the sky when I really ought to be watching my step.

Also, in the summers we take the kids to this place called Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater, which is in the middle of nofreakingwhere. I like the movies, but I really go to see the sky.

Once the sun goes down, that place gets deeply dark as only the wilderness can, and the stars are supernaturally bright and abundant – they seem almost terrifyingly close. We lie on our blankets on the hillside, and the kids watch the illuminated screen below while I stare, transfixed, at the sky.

I don’t study it, really, or have an understanding of it in any kind of sciencey or useful way. I just admire it. A lot. It makes me feel like a tiny part of something vast and wonderful and astonishing, if only as a clueless and clumsy witness.

My friends make fun of me – kindly, I think – for my sky fetish. When we’re together, they never miss a chance to point out a striking cloud formation or a vivid streak of light across the horizon (I have always already noticed, but I truly appreciate their thoughtfulness.)

It’s a bit odd to me, how we’re all wandering around down here under this endless show, and so few people ever really seem to notice. I mean, OK, I guess it’s safer to tend to what you’re doing when you’re hiking or driving or operating a chain saw or whatever.

And granted, a lot of what we all have to do every day requires that we keep our heads down. Stay focused. Watch where we’re going. Pay attention. Check the calendar and finish the edits and get the approvals. Whatever.

But, assuming you don’t risk fiery crashes and grisly injuries in the process, I suspect that part of the secret to enjoying this ride is allowing ourselves be flat astonished by the simplest, most accessible and ordinary stuff. The stuff that’s all around us all the time. Because, y’all, some of it just flat astonishing.

We just have to look up.

The car was not moving when I took this. Don't judge.

No comments:

Post a Comment