The clouds are blinding, today. Every day I check the sky. I’m not looking for anything in particular, or to confirm any special condition. But I check the sky, and almost every day it is different from the day before. Shades of blue, of grey, of white. Some whites are more grey, some are more silver. Sometimes the blue of the sky is grey-blue, sometimes it is a pure, clear, pale blue, sometimes deep, the visual definition of “blue”. They combine in different ways. There are days when I step onto the little porch outside our apartment door and stand at the railing, and the sky is one color from horizon to horizon. Another day, a quick glance tells me the same, but I make my eyes search from distance to distance and there may be a reward for my vigilance in the form of a ribbon of white, or a fluffy band along one edge. Sometimes it rains and the sky is mottled and varying, and sometimes it rains and the sky is a pale, uniform grey, almost a soft white.
I began observing the sky for a few minutes each afternoon in the winter. New Year’s Day, in fact, in agreement with some friends. It felt, and still feels, like a unique opportunity to stay connected as we moved away from one another, this moment of observation, and later comparison. It’s also been an unexpected opportunity to connect to my new habitat.
Strangers I meet here, when learning that we’ve relocated here from San Diego, like to ask if I’m used to the weather yet. They often say it with a wry smile, expecting the worst, and many are surprised when I answer, “I’m not tired of it yet,” or more vehemently (especially after rainy days), “I love it.” Depending on the inquiry, I may soften the answer with, “Obviously, ask me again after a few years,” but it’s been my dream weather, for the most part.
I stepped outside a few moments ago, expecting to see some variation on yesterday’s sky: bright blue sky, fluffy white clouds. But the white of the clouds was so blinding that I could barely see without squinting. I couldn’t seem to turn away enough. It took moments to tilt my head and shade my eyes before I could make out the blue and grey that were heathered behind the white.
It’s so easy to be my natural hermit here, when it is cool and windy and wet. But checking in with the sky won’t let me. It makes me step outside, this habit, and be a part of the world here. Just the other day our neighbors from across the street stepped over and introduced themselves. They said they see us come and go. I wonder if they see me check the sky.