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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Looking Up


The sky yesterday while I was in my car

I was in the canyon yesterday driving up to some property in Midway and admiring the blue-black mountains and the azure sky and the sun rippling through the leaves of trees freshly-minted with new growth. It is hard not to feel steeped in nature when I simply drive through the canyon. 

Of course, it is a motion-picture kind of beauty--rather surreal and rushing by my window-swathed capsule of a car. I'm not actually out among the leaves and the dirt and bugs getting sunburned and hot and dirty. I'm sitting removed from the struggle of nature but admiring its effect. 

I feel desperate at times to get out of my brick-and-mortar office into "the real world." This particular itch seems especially troublesome each spring when the birds are chirping constantly, the trees are lush and full, and the mountains seem so soft, green and inviting. It's like I'm nutrient-deficient in rocks and wildflowers. I feel like if I don't get outside soon I just might expire--at my desk. 

So, my drive up the canyon re-ignited my itch. Or at least brought it into full relief. This itch has been niggling around my brain for several weeks. Now it is punching me in the face. It says rather vehemently "GET OUTSIDE!" 

Sunshine, cool breezes and green, green grass. Mountain trails, pine trees and cold, rushing water. That's what I want. Yet, my life is tied to desk for eight hours a day and my free hours seem consumed with cooking, cleaning, attending class, homework, and whatever else may keep me inside the confines of four walls. 

And then I remembered. Way back in the halls of my memory I remembered a Geography 101 class I took a long, long time ago. The professor who taught the class was understandably focused on all things outdoorsy. One of our first tasks was to record barometric readings each day along with the temperature. And then we had to keep a journal about what the sky looked like. Excuse me? What the sky looked like? Who cares what the sky looks like? It had something to do with the kind of clouds in the sky and what those clouds could tell me about the weather. 

What it did to me was give me a crick in my neck. I found that being forced to look at the sky each day and contemplate clouds required a lot of looking up. And thinking. And pondering. What did the clouds look like? What were they doing? Were they puffy and white like cotton balls or wispy and fleeting? Were dark clouds on the horizon? Which direction were they coming from? What kind of storm might I expect from their appearance? 

All very annoying questions that made me have to stop and contemplate the vast blueness of the sky on a too-regular basis. 

What that too-regular basis did for me was scratch my itch. Looking at the sky each day and recording my thoughts usually occurred on campus when I was in the midst of a heavy school schedule and rushing to and fro in all of my perceived busyness. Looking up forced me to slow down. Looking up made me see the world around me and realize that nature wasn't just in the mountains or up the canyon or going to the lake. Nature was right here above me telling me a story through the clouds. 

Looking up reminded me of lying in the grass as a child and staring up at the vastness of the sky as I dreamed of the kind of life I hoped to live. Looking up reminded me that I was small part of a very big world. Looking up made me think of God. 

Which is why just yesterday when my itch was itching me the most and I was wishing I could be anywhere but in my car amid traffic headed towards a full night of "things to do" that I was startled out of my rushing to and fro when I glanced at the sky and saw some puffy white clouds and felt the warm, late day sunshine. Just a glance away was that beauty I seemed to so be itching for. 

Right there in front of me. 

I've just got to remember to keep looking up. 

2 comments:

Megan said...

I'm pretty sure I was in that class with you and I'm positive I would never (still can't) EVER have recalled that assignment. One more of the many great reasons to have you around.

Lori Sume said...

Thanks. I love that perspective. I tend to look up a lot too...especially this last month. I hope I will be worthy to be "up" there someday.

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