I have always loved the sky.
In any place—desert sky, ocean sky, forest sky,
flatland big sky, high elevation mountain sky.
At any hour—morning sky, blindingly bright midday sky,
twilight sky, midnight sky.
In any state—stormy sky, clear sky, melancholy sky,
heavy dense grey sky, endlessly crisp azure sky.
With any accompaniment—uninhabited sky, crowded sky with clouds or creatures.
The ocean is revered, in part, for its vastness—how it can reframe one’s perspective on our frail, ephemeral human existence. Sky functions the same way for me—and it is even more omnipresent than ocean. When I am caught up in my sorrows, sky reminds me that all is temporary. When I am reveling in my joys, sky reminds me that all is temporary. I am grateful for these constant reminders.
Recently I was on tour with Blue Spirit Wheel; we traveled 8900 miles in six weeks. I spent as much time in the van, if not more, than I spent sleeping. Before the tour, I had grand plans—listed, natch—of all I’d accomplish in all that time: multiple books, multiple blog posts, plenty of postcards.
Riiiiiight. I read a few books. I dabbled in writing drafts. I did write a couple dozen postcards. But reading and writing for long periods in a moving vehicle proved too headache-inducing. So I failed at my list.
But that failure was a magnificent, unforeseen win. Why? Because I looked at the sky so much. (I have mentioned before how much I love sunsets. But for me, sunsets are a subset of sky.)
Desert sky, ocean sky, forest sky, flatland big sky, high elevation mountain sky.
Morning sky, blindingly bright midday sky, twilight sky, midnight sky.
Stormy sky, clear sky, melancholy sky, heavy dense grey sky, endlessly crisp azure sky.
Uninhabited sky, crowded sky with clouds or creatures.
For a few days at a horse sanctuary in Utah, I witnessed a hundred or so cliff swallows nesting. I could have been forcing productivity towards my list—reading or writing or emailing or researching or editing or drafting. Instead, I savored the birdsong and the sunlight filtering through the edges of the wings.
The windows created some unexpected views.
Sometimes I didn’t even have to look up.
This much this sky-gazing was ample time to think, or so I expected. But I witnessed a new way that yoga has changed my mind—often I didn’t think beyond witnessing my surroundings. I thought about clouds. About birds. About unfathomably enormous space.
But when I did think, I was grateful for abundance, wandering, community, constant inspiration. I considered the pettiness of my disagreements with people, the blocks that prevent people from connecting more fully. We are all truly under the same sky, and there’s no need for all the divisiveness we have created. I thought that I should skygaze more often, that we all should.
That as usual, Calvin, succinctly and powerfully, reminds us of that important lesson. (Star-filled sky is one of my favorites, though these days, unfortunately, I rarely encounter it. I don’t have a camera that captures quality nighttime sky images, so I have few from the trip.)
SK © 2013