Atmosphere Musings.


The sunset tonight was strangely golden. Streaks of pink clouds, highlighted orange, against bright blue. The shapes seemed to jump out towards the earth, like they were outlined with silver. It was one of those sunsets where you try to look away, back to the street, or to the buildings ahead, but find yourself tweaking your neck to look again. To glance around 180 degrees, just as some subtle purple rises out of the east. All the colors converged directly above me. I felt enclosed.

You know that feeling where you travel outside your body for a split moment and remind yourself: “This is the only time the sky will ever look exactly like this”? Am I the only one who thinks this every time I watch the sunset?

It’s difficult to wrap my head around temporality. When I look at a building one day, then look at it a month later, it looks relatively the same. Even when I ride up a mountain, then ride up it a year later, the view hasn’t changed much. Maybe there’s a bit more green. Maybe I’m a bit less out of breath. Even the ocean… it is powerful and mysterious, yet strangely consistent.

But the sky. The sky is so powerfully unpredictable. The sky bows to a multitude of factors out of its own control. The ‘sky’ is not really a thing at all… it is the absence of it all. Not so much a ceiling, but a window, inviting us to view the art being laid out within it. It provides a backdrop for the show.

It’s late and I’m looking through my album of sunset pictures. I don’t know if this is an obsession – this strange stirring I feel when I watch colors and shapes form, and the way they dance across the atmosphere. Sometimes, I’m okay with feeling overtaken. I’m okay with tweaking my neck every evening for just one more look. Sometimes, I don’t even like to take a photo because I know 2-D won’t do it justice. Sometimes, I can’t just look, but I have to stand under it, within it. I want to be enveloped.

Tonight, I threw my arms in the air, demanding, “For once, will you just STOP changing?! I want to look at it all before it’s different again!” But already, the clouds have shifted. The color has deepened. The sky has responded –

Oh, child. Follow my lead…

Do not be afraid to let everything change you.

Do not be afraid to reflect the beauty around you.

Do not be afraid to reveal yet another thing to love, even while taking away another.

Do not be afraid to let your setting smile be put to rest.

Then, let your starry eyes come alive.


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