Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sky Light

I saw a "Simpson's Sky" this morning as I drove into work. It's the kind of sky that's a brilliant blue beyond the horizon with cumulus clouds, the white, fluffy kind that look like cotton balls, spread out across the atmosphere. It was a clear morning. Crystal and cool, the aftermath of yesterday's storms.

Do you know what makes the sky turn different colors? Why some days are clearer than others and some sunsets and sunrises more fancifully displayed than others? Particles. Particles in the air. Today's sky was so visibly clear because yesterday's storm swept away the gunk in the air.

Last nights sunset, however, last nights sunset was phantasmical. Pomegranate pinks bled into deep, bruising purple-blues. Particles remained in the air still; many dusty water droplets from the calming storms. Sunlight bounced from one particle to another, refracting and reflecting light, breaking and bending the colored waves until the sky lit up in splendor near the horizon, the black curtain of night rolling slowly to a close.

Isn't it amazing how beauty comes in so many different forms? Today, the sky was beautiful because it was so clear. Last night, it was beautiful due to all of the gunk. I feel like too often in life, people think beauty only lies in the clear and uncluttered. Houses are only beautiful if they are dusted, vacuumed and mopped. Clothes are only beautiful if they are dry-cleaned, starched and pressed. Women are only beautiful if they are slender, painted and polite. Men are only beautiful if they are virile, muscular and courteous.

In other words, people are only beautiful if they are neat, tidy and mess-free. And yet, as we see every day when the sun rises and sets, beauty can be greatly altered, magnified or minimized by the clutter in the air. Think about the deserts. Why are the sunsets there so beautiful? Because the wind kicks up all that sand, adding to the sky even more particles onto and through which sunlight might bend and break like a prism in an open window.

I'm learning more and more that, while outward beauty may be admired, it is within the mess that beauty may be fully appreciated. I am learning that clear skies come only after cleansing storms and storms build from the clutter and the mess. Sometimes the only way we can truly appreciate clear skies is to survive the storm and a storm lurks within us all.

After all, as Dinah Shore said, "Trouble is part of your life, and if you don't share it, you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough."