Monday, March 24, 2014

40 Pieces of Advice Challenge - Day 8

I'm a sky gazer. It is both comfortingly familiar and yet always changing, my lifelong friend.

When I was a child, one of my favorite things to do was to play the cloud game with my mother. I'm sure you've done it yourself. You look up try to find familiar shapes in the cloud formations, the more intricate, the better. While searching the sky for a pirate ship or a cupcake topped high with frosting, my mom and I would talk about all kinds of things, important and trivial. Somehow, looking up and letting our imaginations wander helped us find words to express things to each other that may have otherwise gone unsaid in the hustle and bustle of our busy days. Even now, though my mother is gone, I still find myself looking up and smiling at the shapes I find. The vastness of the sky and the movement of the clouds reminds me that there is plenty of time to just be, to talk to people, to enjoy being alive.

As I write this now, I'm outside, listening to music composed by J.S. Bach, and watching the gauzy clouds float in the dark blue sky of night. And, I'm imagining that, some three hundred years ago, Mr. Bach looked up at the same sky, maybe taking a break from composing, or walking home after a long night of church organ playing. Could he have foreseen that a stranger, hundreds of years in the future, would take such pleasure from his compositions? Then I wonder who might be sitting in this very spot, hundreds of years from now, letting their minds wander as they lift their eyes up. This reminds me that we are all connected to one another, across time and distance, and we are all a part of this earth that is our home.

I remember a particularly breathtaking sunset a few years ago in Southern California. The billowing clouds, glowing in vivid colors of red, orange, purple and pink formed what looked like a grand staircase leading up to the heavens, with the rays of the sun spilling over their tops. I almost expected to see the pearly gates just beyond the blinding light. I sometimes think that God creates masterpieces of art every day, with the sky as his canvas, just for the sake of bringing beauty to the world. This reminds me that I am not alone, and that there are forces that are bigger than me.

Our powerful telescopes and the satellites that are now exploring space have brought us more knowledge about what lies "out there" than we, as a species, have ever before known. The tiny, glittering lights in the night sky which look to me like specks of glitter on a velvet blanket are actually giant bodies of gas and matter and are further away than I can comprehend. This reminds me that things are not always as they seem.

Have you looked at the sky today?

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