Tangled Up in Blue: Shifting clouds

Every cloudy day is different.

On a bluebird day, from the window above my bed to the shores of Resurrection Bay, the view is the same as all other sunny days. The bright blue of the Alaska sun shines hard, making the mountains stand strong, crisp and vibrant against the cobalt canvas sky.

On a cloudy day, that canvas is full. Wispy tendrils of clouds dance along the ridgelines or large, ominous fog layers fall down on top of you.

As I looked out toward the sea, I saw things as I never had before and never would again, because in moments the winds had shifted my view ever so slightly.

On those bright bluebird afternoons, I easily forget that the days will be different, that the endless blue will ever end. The sun spends hours climbing overhead and tends to hang there, warming our skin, our smiling faces.

And when our bodies couldn’t handle anymore and needed rest, we ignored the lingering light and climbed into bed with the assumption that tomorrow would be the same.

Sometimes it is, and we wake up with boundless energy picking up where we left off.

And sometimes it isn’t. The clouds rolled in while we weren’t paying attention, changing the landscape and the plans we made earlier, when blue engulfed us.

It’s a mistake I’ve made time and time again, letting the excitement of a sunny day leak into the next, not expecting that anything wouldn’t be as it was — tangled up in blue, blissfully unaware of the spectrum of days that clouds can create.

But I don’t know how to, or want to, change. Where is the optimism in telling your neighbor, “What beautiful weather we’re having!” if I spend it worrying about what tomorrow’s clouds could bring?

They could dump snow, leaving us a foot and a half buried, our morning coffees derailed by shoveling.

Or they drop drizzles that dampen the soil and heavy rains that clean the dirt from our hands and homes, an unexpected renewal.

They can bring storms that wallop and destroy with a subdued frenetic energy that’ll rattle the foundations and keep me wallowing indoors, listening for the howling through the window panes.

The clouds can shift, too, and sunshine streaks through just enough to create that brief moment where all the colors line up to create something beautiful, known and loved.

In a perfect world, the meteorology is always right and we get every sunny day we’re promised and can prepare for the worst of the cloudy days. In this world, though, it isn’t.

They said this week would be full of cloudy days, rain and more. A typo on one report had Monday’s seas reaching new heights and sent ships back to port, a prediction created by sleight of hand.

When I woke up on Monday morning, the view through my window showed a fog layer, inching its way through town, so drastically different from the sunny Sunday.

I spent the morning navigating the thick clouds, rain jacket on hand. I spent the afternoon basking in brief respites of sun, wondering what tomorrow would bring.


For the Clarion