Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gray-Green Summer Sky

I have a secret love affair with the warm afternoon summer rain that turns the sky a deep, dark gray, but leaves the sun still shining. Ordinary leaves on trees shine a vibrant yellow-green against the charcoal sky that makes them more than three dimensional in a way I can’t explain. Every leaf a mile away can be seen as an individual part of the tree. It has to be the heavenly version of limelight. No human can stand inside of it.

I think of that as my gray-green summer sky, my summer painting by the artist of creation. I have several images of green-gray skies inside my head. I can tell you exactly where I was each time I saw one, because every time, it stops me into stillness. I feel as if I’m looking into love for the first time. No photograph I have ever seen has done justice to its vibrancy.

My friend Kate and I met such a sky while driving through the mountains of Nevada. Knowing rain would reach us soon, we stopped to take in the view and put the top up on the car. That’s when the dark, mountain sky gave us a rainbow shaped in a perfect circle. Spectacular and breathtaking. Yet it seemed natural too. We stood in disbelief, like we were seeing our first snow, like we had found the pot of gold, like children who see wonderful things everyday of their lives. It didn’t matter that the raindrops started to reach where we were standing. We were part of something that we knew just didn’t happen. We tried to take a picture, but we didn’t have the right equipment. I’m kind of glad we didn’t, because some things don’t belong in photographs. They belong in memories. . . .

I once stood under a concrete canopy by a high school doorway, talking to friends while we waited out an event postponed until the rain went by. My eye had been transfixed by such a sky. Though I conversed as much as everyone. My arm was outstretched into the rain. My hand held a paper cup for an hour to catch the rain. It was a gift for a boy I’d see when the event began. What he would do then with a cup of rainwater now only makes me smile. It was the gesture and the romance that I gave. I wonder if he remembers it. I know I’ll never forget doing it. Maybe I did it for the rain and me and not for him at all.

The thing about the gray-green sky is that the sun must shine. And I must stand backlit by the sun to see it. It’s safe and warm. It feels like the calm before a storm, while I am wrapped inside my mother’s arms. It’s filled with the promise of everything that ever was or might be. It turns ordinary leaves on trees a vibrant yellow-green that makes them more than three dimensional.

The gray-green, summer sky makes an ordinary me backlit by the sun feel amazed, in awe, and incredibly alive.

—me strauss Letting me be


Bluesky_Liz said...

I know what you mean. It's a bit surreal. The sky has to be completely uniform dark grey with clouds for this effect.

And if it is raining in a distance, you get to see really nice rainbows. I don't know anybody who didn't like rainbows.

I work on the second highest floor of a building on a hill, through the big glass windows we can see quite far. One time there was a rainbow, and all the lab people crowded at the window to stare at the rainbow. :)

ME Strauss said...

Hello Liz,
You do know what I mean. I can hear it in the way you write about it. It's a very special thing that makes the air feel different, makes the people feel differently.
I'm glad to think you know about it too.

mergrl said...

The thing about the gray-green sky is that the sun must shine. And I must stand backlit by the sun to see it. It’s safe and warm. It feels like the calm before a storm, while I am wrapped inside my mother’s arms. It’s filled with the promise of everything that ever was or might be.

absolutely wonderful description. Many a summer afternoon has been spent sitting on my porch looking at just that sky. Looking for a rainbow if the rain comes. Being amazed at the way the sun just makes everything that much more vivid. Thank you for the beautiful picture I now have in my mind.

hope you are having a good morning (hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Good morning, mergrl,
That sky is so special--like you are.

It's so special you have to stop and take it. It was meant for stopping to look at.


Mark Daniels said...

I agree with you about the beauty of such a sky. With the sun pouring in, the background created by a "green-grey" sky makes everything joyfully gorgeous, the colors spilling out in all their glory!

Nice post.


ME Strauss said...

Thank you, Mark.
It is wonderful sky to behold.

Horace Finkle said...

I wish I had that sky now. It's damn cold here and the sky has been WHITE every day for the past 3 weeks. Can't wait for summer again.

- Horace Finkle, Teenage Ghost

ME Strauss said...

Hi Horace,
I'm right there with you. I could use a summer sky too. Can get you a blanket and a hot cocoa?

dog1net said...

"The thing about the gray-green sky is that the sun must shine."
My, haven't you been busy this past week. I enjoyed this post, not only in its details that create vivid images (mountains, a rainbow, the sky, concrete, trees, and the paper cup) but also in its slow, ponderous effect that creates a sense of peace and contentment--"the calm before a storm . . . wrapped inside my mother’s arms."
Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas to you and your family,

ME Strauss said...

Thank you, Scot.
It so easy to write about something that holds such a special place in my mind and my heart.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

fineartist said...

Liz, you have articulated, and beautifully I must add, exactly why I do not paint nature. The real thing is amazing, no abstraction that I could render would compare, though there are others who have succeeded in mimicking a reasonable likeness. Not me, I’ll stick with faces or human made things for the most part. Trying to paint feeling into them, mostly my own.

I remember days like this that you have described…they are forever locked in my memory too.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lori,
Some days are so magnificent, that no matter the painter, no one would believe that such things could happen in those colors.