Just as we can usually tell the mood of a person by the look on their face, so we can often tell the mood of the day from the look of the sky.
In days of yore, people could make a fair job of forecasting the weather from the set of the clouds, but, as with so many old ways, most of us have lost the knack. Yet we hang on to some. "Red sky at night, shepherd's delight - red sky in the morning, sailor's warning" is one, and although the wording varies a bit, the meaning seems to hold true. Not only is an evening sky full of reds, purples and oranges a joy to behold today, it keeps us optimistic for tomorrow.
I love skies. I was brought up with them ... on a farm. Big, open skies where the sun rises from behind a wood and sets beyond a river. Blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud drifting across the sun, and grey skies that threaten - and usually deliver - rain. Velvet-black, starry night skies, and watery lemon skies of morning. I love them all.
Where I live now, I don't have the luxury of a wide-open expansive sky to gaze at during odd moments of leisure. I live in a town where the sky is obliterated by lines of buildings out front, and garden sheds at the back. But I don't let an opportunity pass by. Late in the day, when I see the slightest tinge of pink in what sky is left to me, I rush halfway down the garden and crane my neck to get the best view, or run upstairs and hang out of the window. But it's worth it. I wouldn't miss it for the world. All too soon the pale pink turns through red to purple to grey to black, and the day is gone. Never again will I see exactly that sky - I can actually watch it change - like watching a flower open - and I try to commit it to memory. Sometimes (more often than I would like to admit), I take a photograph, even though I know I won't be able to quite capture the mood, the joy of each unique moment. And when it's gone, I'm left with that promise for tomorrow of another lovely day, and possibly another lovely sky.
There was such a sky recently on my birthday. We were out for the evening, heading for a meal and then the cinema. I was looking forward to introducing Pete to a Vegan cafe I knew, and we both wanted to see "Armageddon". As it turned out, the cafe had closed unusually early that evening so we went to a pasta place over the road and had an amazing time. We took so long choosing from the tempting menu, and savouring the delicious food, that we were almost too late for the film. When we got there we found out that "Armageddon" would not be released until two days later, so we saw "Lost in Space" instead. Having seen this, we agree with local reviews - that the plot leaves a lot to be desired but the special effects are good. And you have probably gathered that I am a sucker for special effects!
Yesterday, we had a busy day planned. I say planned. Among other things, I had some photographs I wanted developed, and Pete had some literature to deliver, so once in town we went our separate ways and arranged to meet up outside a bookshop. The photographs took longer at the developers than they should, and I had some time to kill. I visited a shop nearby and found a wonderful piece of glassware to decorate. I couldn't wait to show Pete. When we met up I was, of course, late. He, too, had been wandering around, which gave him the opportunity to buy something he had wanted for ages and we shared our treasures.
Now we were on our way to a friend's concert. By this time the mall was being secured for the night, and there was nowhere to eat. We headed for the outskirts of town and this is when we got to eat at the Vegan cafe. OK, so they had no herb bread left at this time of day - the granary was superb. Now we had about an hour before the concert started. The evening was warm so we bought some bottles from a supermarket and sat in a park, watching children play and dogs jogging with their owners, and we forgot how footsore we were. The day had turned out - differently.
It's good to plan, to have a goal, but it's also good to leave room for the changes.As something moves out of our lives, so something else moves in. Afternoon, evening, night, morning. Summer, autumn, winter, spring. Each with its own fleeting gifts, and the promise of more to come. Never the same twice, and every time a new adventure. OK, so sometimes we could wish it were less like "Raiders of the Lost Ark", and more like "The Sound of Music", but to me life is like the ever-changing sky - it's there, it's informative, it's entertaining, it's colourful, and it's worth taking some time to just stand and look at the glory of it.