The sky is falling (unless it’s not)


How often to you take a few moments to just pause and stare at the sky?

From stunning sunrises and sunsets, to remarkable artistic swirls and colors, off into the simple activities of nature, it can be a remarkable and visually impressive canvas.

We could get into some scholastic or scientific exploration, and talk about the atmosphere… the way the spin of the planet and temperatures and oceans and more create scenarios and patterns… and all of the different ways that influence how the clouds move and why the seasons change and how weather is created.

Let’s not.

Instead let’s just appreciate what’s in front of us. The brilliance of blues and reds and yellows. The puffy clouds, the complete overcast, and the varieties in layering. Spotting balloons and hawks and kites and geese. Watching as the wind twists and shifts perspectives, as leaves blow and trees bend along the edges of your views.

Do you ever stare? Do you gaze off on a regular basis? Do you pause, with no real thoughts in your mind, perhaps in a chair with a beverage at your side, and just appreciate the sky?

I do.

Our current home is a bit of a marvel for appreciating nature. There are some eagles nesting not all that far away, and we’ve seen them on occasion in the sky or perched in trees. After an overnight or two on the ground, a blanket of snow reveals the trails being explored by deer and other wildlife. And then overhead…

There is little in the way off to the east and west, meaning that while the views aren’t perfect there is little obstruction from sunrise to sunset. Watching the sun come through a field of corn in the morning is a pretty fantastic way to begin a day.

The trees and brush aren’t all that tall or thick, which brings about a fairly open tapestry directly overhead. So far, we’ve been talking about daylight hours, when the complete reality is that the stargazing is pretty sweet as well.

On a great summer evening, you can cook dinner and start a fire. Make some s’mores, grab a drink, and relax as the light fades and fireflies appear. Then, as the fires dies and embers cool, lean back and enjoy the arrival of constellations and shooting stars. That right there is a spectacular way to invest a few hours with family and friends.

Ever heard of radiational cooling? I promised to avoid the science talk and classroom subjects, so let’s tread in with only the most basic of ideas. Overcast cloud cover insulates. Earth cools more quickly on clear nights. If you live in the northeast United States, you may suddenly have some ideas about radiational cooling on an October day that hadn’t occurred to you before.

Streaks overhead from planes inspire fantasies of travel and faraway lands. Flocks of birds act as reminders of seasonal changes and possible migration patterns. Clouds moving quickly create thoughts of approaching storms.

There’s more to the sky beyond being blue… more to the sky beyond why it’s blue. Pausing to stare can be a wonderful thing.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at