Monday, August 17, 2015


What if I said this year it's all about the sky?

What if I said we came to one of the great wonders of the world, the greatest lake of them all, and we found a house distant and beautiful, full of a long, tenderly beaded chain of windows, strung out meticulously across this lake's wild shore, and I said it's all about the sky?

Yes, that sky, the one you will find anywhere one earth. That same sky. Different. So different, but the same.

I wouldn't want to hear about the sky.

You go off to Tanzania to be with the herds of zebras please don't come back and tell me about the grass.

"But the grass is amazing in Tanzania! I can't tell you anything about Tanzania if you don't know about the grass."


You don't go to Antarctica to tell me about the stars. I want to hear about the penguins on the endless ice.

"But the stars are different in Antarctica. They feel different. You have to know about the stars to know anything at all."

I've already seen the stars.

"No, you haven't seen these exact, perfect, precise stars."

Well, so be it. I don't have to like it, but I understand. I understand because that's how it is with the sky here. That same blue sky. Yes, you know, you've seen it. It has not escaped your attention.

And yet, no. This isn't your sky. These are bigger clouds than you have, doing wilder things. This is the sky that has run away from home. Just look, look at this blue sky. That is a cloud growing from nothing before our eyes, billowing, taking strange shapes, thick and solid and permanent, then retreating into itself, fading, and completely disappeared. Did we really see that? Or how about that cloud, over by itself floating in the blue, almost comically alone over the light water. That cloud is raining by itself. One cloud raining, the rain like tendrils of downward whisping smoke, the patch of rain on the lake a smear of distant black.

So much sky everywhere.

And at night the full moon rises and it is dark out and yet bright at the same time. The clouds turn colors no one has yet named. The light is smeared and splattered by a heavy hand across the surface of the stars and the water and the air. Yes you have a moon where you are. You have clouds where you are. Go look for these wonders. Go search your skies, but you are as likely to see a herd of zebra racing down your streets, a flock of penguins gathered curiously together in your yard, as you are to see these things that I see happening above Lake Superior.

If a great storm were stirring up terrifying 30 foot waves onto our shore of Lake Superior I would tell you. If we could see wolves howling in the woods to our east I would tell you that too. And if a giant bull moose were wandering down to the water's edge to take a prodigious sip of water I would tell you everything I could about it. But we have the sky, and it is just as good, and so I am telling you so.

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