Monday, May 13, 2024

Sky's the Limit!

 Sunrise February 19. 2024

The sky is the infinite movie for me. I never get tired of looking at what's happening up there.
Singer K.D. Lang

There's a game called "Never have I ever." Evidently, it's popular among teens at slumber parties. Well, I crossed a "Never have I ever" thing off my list last Friday. The Northern Lights were visible on the Kansas plains. And, from looking at Facebook, we weren't alone. People posted awe-inspiring photos from across the nation from places that don't normally experience them.

In truth, they were barely visible to the naked eye. But point the cell phone camera to the skies and a whole kaleidoscope filled the screen. 

We weren't the only ones driving around in our pajamas Friday night. We had to turn our headlights back on when our neighbors turned down the same dark country road where we were viewing the free light show. And yes, we all admitted to wearing our PJs for the trip outside.
We tried again on Saturday night, but clouds had started to move in, blocking the view. I did see photos from our neighbor, Rebecca, who knows more about photography than I do. But Saturday night didn't provide a repeat of the glut of Facebook posts that Friday spawned.

I've always loved to watch the sky.
My sisters and I sang a Joni Mitchell song, "Both Sides Now," for a 4-H Club Day long, long ago. That song often rolls around in my head, much like the clouds that shift in Kansas skies:
Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way.
 Sunrise February 19. 2024

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's clouds' illusions, I recall
I really don't know clouds at all.

I've always liked clouds, but I think I became even more aware when Brent was little. Some people have backseat drivers. I had a backseat cloud watcher. 

Sunrise and my sunrise tree - February

Brent was always discovering some shape in the marshmallow fluff of clouds floating by. 

Clouds reflected in the Rattlesnake Creek, April 2024

When the kids were little, I "retired" from working full-time as a writer-editor at The Hutchinson News, but I wrote a column for them, "At Home with Kim," for several years. Here an excerpt of what I wrote when Brent was in kindergarten:  
It was one of those days when it looks like the angels are using the clouds for tumbling mats. Brent and I were driving home, and he started cloud-watching.

"Oh, look, Mommy! That one looks like a dinosaur. And that one looks like a puppy."

We found an eagle and a dragon and a cat among the whipped-cream clouds. I was thinking that even though our world changes, some things - like cloud watching - have been children's pastimes for years and years.

And then he said, "Oh, there a roller blade."
As a child, I saw dragons and rabbits, but not a single roller blade was suspended in my cotton-candy skies. Change is part of us - even daydreaming cloud watchers confirm that.

Though I no longer have cloud watchers in the backseat, I still love watching the clouds. Perhaps it is their ability to change quickly, shifting the scenery in an instant. I personally struggle with change, so I guess I admire it in other things. 

April 2024

Maybe it's OK to have your head in the clouds on occasion

I recently saw this post featuring an Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on a friend's Facebook feed:

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. Begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Maybe sunrises and sunsets are our celebration of a life colored by those attitudes - leaving behind the worries of the day and looking forward to the clear page provided by another new day.
It's worth a try.

Once upon a time, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.

Terry Tempest Williams



  1. I'm definitely a cloud watcher. Alas, Never have I ever seen the Northern Lights. These are amazing. The southern lights put on an equally brilliant show across Australia. Our city lights are too bright for seeing them here. Had I realised how amazing they were going to be, I'd have arranged to go down to the farm.
    The weekend before last, I got up at 3am to watch the much advertised meteor showers. Everything I read, said I couldn't miss them. I saw not one!

    1. That's usually the kind of luck I have when it comes to sky events, so I was thrilled to see the Northern Lights!

    2. I can fully understand your excitement at seeing them, especially as you are in the middle of the continent.