Every morning I check out the dome overhead. What's going on? What's moving in? Out? Hovering? Descending? When I typically go outside, it's very dark: this time of year between four and five, it's a good three hours before daylight.
It's really important that I start each day by looking up. (I also start each day by planting my bare feet on the earth, truly getting grounded. That's a challenge when it's twenty degrees and frosty, but I try to do it every morning.) Looking up is prayerful. Thank you, Moon Girl, for the healthy glow you beam into my eyes. Thank you, Dark Sky, for staging the night's light dance, in spite of my city's frenetic spray of parking lot, street, shopping center glare. Thank you, Orion's Belt, for returning to your autumnal station in my southeast dawn sky. That certainty reassures me. Thank you, Whatever-Satellite-You-Are, for reminding me that humans have made their presence, both good and bad, felt in these limitless celestial fields.
My morning sky prayer is repeated at day's end. Thank you, Hot Orb, for bringing life to us yet again. Thank you, Stars, for sharing your faceted brilliance, even though I know the light I'm seeing is so old, so passe, so long-gone. Thank you, Darkness, for giving us shelter from others' stares. Now you, Flying Tubes, be safe, you with your flashing lights and your rows of trusting souls. Be safe. Thank you again, Moon Girl, for pouring more healthy light into my eyes. And so I pray.
The sky is my altar. An uplifted chin is a grateful, thoughtful, seeking, celebrating one. The sky is also my palette. Amazement is a given as I trace the nuance of color and shape in the sky. Just this Sunday I ran with my dog while it was quite dark. Ground color was the deepest charcoal, spurring a wish that my steps would be met by even ground unwilling to trip me. A pewter dome covered us: regal, still, sober. As we ran, that metallic hue gave way to blue and apricot. Sweet combo, with blue above, apricot near the earth. Then iridescence jumped in. Pearly cloud drifts swam across the sky like schools of gilded fish. (I recently saw clouds that danced like a bounty of jelly fish, up-right, perky, and on the move...they stayed for only minutes.)
By the time we returned home from our run, this pearlized palette had been tossed out and a new one plunked down: a sharp azure field set up for muscle-bound, substantive clouds. Impressive bunch, these white forms were. But, within an hour, they were gone and the dome was greyed, subdued, quiet, perfect for a Sunday morning brunch on the deck. My head was spinning with the rambling color schemes and shapes of just a few hours of morning sky.
The altar, the palette, they both enchant. The sky comforts, inspires, stuns me. I am ever grateful that I can, each day, look up.