6) Look. Up.

Has the sky always been this remarkable?

It is one of the great joys of my days, this winter, to simply look up. I can hardly make my way to work in the morning, or home in the evening, for obsessing over the constantly changing sky. To the North? Fourteen shades of remarkable blue with criss-crossed contrail lines. (I can’t see a single one without wondering about the people on the planes, where they are going, what will await them when they get there.) To the South, layer upon layer of clouds: wispy cirrus, floating cululus, dramatic cumulonimbus. (I looked it up.)

Here is a phrase I repeat so often even I get bored with it:

If you saw that sky in a painting, you’d never believe it.

This is what I thought tonight. I am so lucky to live where I live, and work where I work. I drive East in the morning, heading straight for the sun and the brightening sky. I drive West in the evening, right into the sunset. For 30 minutes each way, I get to see a show so breathtaking I often pull off to the side, just to watch.

This sky is also a reason I love winter so much. In summer, the sunrise and sunset are merely bookends that denote beginning and end during a time of exertion and activity. In winter, the changing sky is a part of our consciousness; it is a guiding light that brings us gently into the day, then eases us out softly, on the other end. The days are short, so this rising and setting is an integral part of the routine, a gift from God to our conscious, awake selves. It is message of inspiration, I think, a Keep At It just when we most need encouragement.

Try this. The next time you are feeling sad or bored or disconnected, look up. I bet you’ll see a light show so dramatic you’ll think: Someone up there surely is trying to tell me something.

Allison Caldwell
Allison Caldwell
Allison Caldwell

I can’t resist including these bonus images by my friend, Allison Caldwell. She and I share a fascination with the sky and I am always wowed to see another of her shots appear in my Instagram feed. Follow her at akcsc on Instagram.