Often the forgotten part of our lives is, simply, the sky–the ever-changing backdrop to our days on terra firma. Places and contexts may remain relatively the same or slow-changing, but the skyscapes and cloudscapes come and go with some regularity. Which is why, incidentally, it is a little bleak to go weeks on end as we have recently in Edmo winter without a good extended opportunity to see even sun or sky. Same effect in Vancouver’s version of rainy winter.
But–and I always come back to the brilliant summer skies in the evening or magic hour when the light has certain je-ne-sais-quoi effects–when the skies, the very heavens open up after a rain, one can see worlds within worlds played out in heavenly vistas. Or strange magical blues, oranges, or pinks along the horizons of these unreal, ephemeral, privileged moments.
At other times, it may simply be the wonder of just looking up at the beauty of puffy passing clouds on sky-blue in August or September. And one again is a shepherd boy in Thomas Gray’s time, lollygagging and wondering at the majesty of Nature–its large, deep, usually solitary pleasures. It is from such moments as the latter, that I feel again as I did at 17, when starting out, feeling the potential of life and the urge to move, and to write something equally memorable.
But those heavenly summer vistas, with their splendiferous roads upward into other worlds, other larger imaginative possibilities–which once spurred Turner to paint his numerous wild sky and cloud abstracts. No question the passion of one’s life could be simply creatively expressing or recording what is above one’s head most of the time. A beauty one will never find on a smartphone screen, or in a conventional company of revellers.
When I was 18, those same skies bespoke to me and said, Romantically, “This is It. This is true Beauty. This is Vision. This is the only God you will ever need to satisfy something so deeply and essentially you in your unique path through Life.” And that became a personal standard or ideal, so to speak, by which I measured all else, and the myriad possibilities of Nature, Beauty and Poesy.