Big Sky

Today’s sky is wide and blue and full of hope, and is especially welcome after a week of heavy greyness. A meteorology book I own (ok, the only meteorology book I own) starts with a quote from Emerson to the effect that “The sky is the daily bread for our eyes”.
For me, as well as the simple visual pleasure it provides, it’s an opportunity for an atheist such as me to connect to something larger than the cares of everyday life. I spent many hours of my idle teenage years simply laying in bed staring up out of the window at the passing clouds, and kind of wish that I had the time to do that nowadays too. Although I have to say, I was never into that popular game of “find the recognisable shape/character/animal in the clouds”. Clouds are interesting enough in themselves – they don’t need to be anthropomorphised.

Whenever I think about looking at the sky, an anecdote from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy comes to mind. There’s a planet whose peculiar weather system means that the skies are constantly covered by a uniform grey mist. The species that lives there have no concept of life beyond their planet, because they’ve never seen the sun or the stars.

Of all the phenomena I’ve seen in the sky, the one to so far elude me is aurora borealis. Even during a week in Lapland we managed to miss it…