Friday, November 07, 2008


A cloudy, dreary, grey, gloomy morning. Moods like geese flying overhead, crying. We live on a water world, a planet mostly covered by water. I always remember that when I'm in the arid deserts of the Southwest. I live in a particularly verdant and wet region of the planet, centered on the North American craton, near the Great Lakes. Inland seas, really, large enough to affect the weather here. They call it lake-effect snow downwind, when the winter comes in and the eastern shores of each Lake gets much more snow than the western.

In mid-afternoon, after very heavy rains in which I was driving to a neighboring town on the highway, the sky began to clear. There were very dramatic clouds the rest of the afternoon, till sunset. The sky was glorious, almost unreal, approaching sundown. One of those Maxfield Parrish sunsets that I grew used to when I lived in New Mexico, but which are less common here in the Upper Midwest. Pinks and blues and grays and white-purples everywhere. Clouds are water. Wispy, evaporating condensation, gaseous mists on the sky's windshield.

Leaving me with the reminder that, when I am feeling melancholy, I turn again to beauty. Beauty pulls me out of melancholy, or allows me to endure it. I suppose that’s tawdry and oh-so un-ironic, and therefore suspicious in the modern critical climate. So be it. Sincerity should not of itself be a bad word.

Such complex beauty stuns. It is not to be reckoned. It cannot be categorized, only discovered anew. I strand in the parking lot of the community clinic, looking at the sky, watching closely and taking photos as the light quickly fades, the fast-moving clouds move on, turn silver on blue, then grey, and in moments the show is over. Am I the only person in this parking lot who looked up? Too few of us spend any time noticing the sky, and the light. We are too wrapped up in our heads, in the dramas ping-ponging in there, between our ears. The sky is generous. It's given me many shows this autumn; it's been a spectacular year for beauty-hunting, and I have walls full of fresh trophies from the beauty hunt.

And, in the fresh night, full of small movements, blown leaves, spirit-animals running across the wet road, a table full of candles for the dead.

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Blogger Dave King said...

Such complex beauty stuns. I agree. Invert the red sky images, and what have you got? The imagination knows no bounds. Excellent!

6:01 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks, Dave.

It's always amazing that nature can throw up things and images and complexities we hadn't imagined before. These were of the most interesting cloud-forms at sunset I'd ever seen. Very complex and tangled, and beautiful.

10:46 AM  

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