The morning was unusual in several ways: I was up before sunrise and the sky was clear. Walking down the driveway and across the road to get the paper, I could not help but notice the bright glitter of stars above. Orion, the Big Dipper, and other constellations were still clearly visible, as was the brilliant "Goat Star", Capella, to the west. Where we live, in western Washington State, this is a bit unusual as our skies are so often overcast, day or night. In late October, they nearly always are.
Once again, the sky stole my heart. Born and raised in Montana, perhaps that is to be expected, for in that vast land of the "Big Sky", it is impossible to ignore. My earliest memories include sky events - gazing up into the endless blue of summer to find myriad shapes among the huge, white, puffy clouds; staring in awe at the raw power of jagged strikes of lightening against a the ominous blue-black; mindfully watching for an approaching storm as wind-blown shreds of umber scudded across a darkening sky. Whenever we traveled, driving out of town on infrequent trips across miles of uncluttered country, the sky - huge, brilliant, and domineering - formed the backdrop to 360 degrees of spectacular landscape. How could one not be influenced?
I have always been a sensitive, perceptive person who feels close to the natural world. Certainly the time and place of my growing-up years was a large influence, but I've found this to be true wherever I've been in this life. I've always known of my affinity for the sky, but it has only been in recent years that I considered the reasons.
How, for example, would one describe the sky to someone who had never seen it? This is when I, yet again, am reminded of just how important words and language are, for we rely on them so much to convey our thoughts, feelings, observations, and experiences. Although there truly is no substitution for experiencing something, pictures and words are the next best thing. Sometimes we are left with only words.
The sky is like a gigantic bowl turned upside-down and placed over your head. Wherever you turn, and look, above a certain level, there it is. It is always there - timeless, endless, expanding out in every direction as far as you can see, farther than you can ever imagine. It forms an immense backdrop against everything else you see and affects your perception of those things.
The sky is never static, but changes constantly - with the hour, the day, the season. It has a light and a dark time, from dazzling, warm colors, to cold, frigid black. Although we might think we merely see it, it can be heard, smelled, and sensed in myriad ways. It has its moods and modes and influences us in ways we can barely comprehend. Love it, hate it, or ignore it - it is always there and has been since the dawn of time. Imagine life without it...
My soul - that immeasurable essence surrounding, flowing through me - is also expansive, endless, ever-changing, arousing my emotions and sentiments. It has a dark and light side, is breath-taking, ominous, and forms the backdrop of all else in my life. It is the spiritual or moral force that guides me and can be difficult to describe. To put it simply - I have Sky in my Soul.