Some sky, some clouds

One of my friends once asked me if the reason I was so laid-back was because I had grown up by the water and could see its steady, calming presence.  And I have thought about that question even though the answer was and still is no (the answer is genetics.  hi, dad!  I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard you raise your voice).

But something of that question stays with me.  The essence of it.  That maybe I did somehow drink it all in, the wide pounding sea, the daily flowing tide.  And that maybe it was the water that drew me back–back first to North Carolina, then later back to this particular corner of the state, the thin, undulating line on the map.  On one side of the line water.  The other, land.

Now

that I have been here for a while, my feet planted firmly where I oneday swore I would never live, I’ve been thinking she was on to something.

But it wasn’t the water.

It was the sky.

The way it suddenly opens up above you in a clearing.

Or the way the road disappears at the crest of a hill and the only thing in front of you is sky, to your sides, sky, above you, sky.

And it wasn’t just the sky.

It was the clouds.

How they are sometimes an abstract painting.

Sometimes an explosion of color.

Sometimes a river flowing slowly.

Sometimes shattered by sun.

And it is not that the sky makes me calm, or the clouds.

It is that when I see them, the unexpected stretching beauty, the blue-open expanse, something inside me opens to the world.

It takes a deep breath,

and exhales.

And in that moment nothing else exists.

There is nothing else but clouds, and sun, and sky.

Not even me.

Not even eyes, not even breath, not even heart.

Just sky.  Just clouds.  Just a golden, shifting light.

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