No matter where we are in the world, we’re technically under the same sky. But to be fair to the title of this post, we can only see parts of that sky at any given time. I’m finally under the Blue Ridge Sky again after studying abroad in Spain (See the picture gallery below of all those skies), and while it doesn’t look exactly as I remembered it, there’s no place I would rather be right now.
“Someone’s gonna paint you another sky.” Is a lyric from the John Mayer song, Paper Doll, and as quotable as all of his songs are, this one is especially relevant during times of change. Most of his songs deal with matters of the heart, which is surprising considering his reputation as a heartbreaker. But love is one thing that, although he may not always put into practice, he articulates very well. It’s true that lost loves are eventually replaced by new loves, and maybe this does make the sky a bit brighter and the colors more vivid; but why not add our own brush strokes during the interim?
Think of lost loves as stars. Those big, gassy, balls of fire sparkling above us. We can lean back and see them all spread above us like a mosaic. Some are dim and so far away that they are unreachable, we’ll be dead by the time the full force of their light reaches the earth.
Others are bright and seemingly close by but in reality, they died a long time ago and we’re seeing only the final remnants of their light. It traveled billions of miles to reach us and now, there’s no star left to send more. Maybe tomorrow night there will be an empty spot where it once was and months later we’ll forget it was even there to begin with.
Let’s not forget the liars. They’re just planets or meteors masquerading as stars, and as brilliant as they are, they’re only visible on occasion. And among those there are others we will never see. We could be on the wrong side of the Earth, maybe there’s too many clouds in our way, too much light pollution, maybe we never look.
Either way, the night sky would be too dark and uninspired without them, so no matter how ours looks, take a moment to appreciate all the stars in the sky. The night may be darker than the day, but it still has light.
Then, there is the sun. The king of all stars, at least when it comes to Earth. The sun is the great love of our lives. It peaks above the horizon slowly and rises past all the layers of our atmosphere until it is blazing down above us. The sun flushes out all of the stars behind it until it’s difficult to remember that we’re not the only planet in the universe. The position of the sun changes as the day drifts on, casting longer shadows as it sets until it has surrendered us to the night.
So in this extended metaphor, who are we? We are the Earth, and because it originated from the Earth billions of years ago, the moon. We are the Earth with it’s opposite poles, it’s collage of flora and fauna, it’s layers of atmospheric gases coloring the sky, and it’s temperamental weather patterns and seasons. We are the moon, pulling the tides into the coast and receding again, steadying the Earth as it rotates in space, reflecting the sun’s light into the night, always present in the sky, and regulating the passage of time. Think of it as the difference between the heart and the brain.
So if we are the moon and the Earth, we are the artists that cover our canvases with streaks of blue, dotting them with clouds and bringing in gradients of reds, oranges and golds with touches of violet around the edges. We have to do the work so that the stars, and especially the sun, have something to shine down upon. Our lost loves could be old lovers or friends, they could be experiences that made us feel alive, maybe we’ve fallen out of love with ourselves, or maybe we’ve failed to pursue our passions.
Whatever love we have lost, we must be able to let it go. Our skies are ever changing but they will never change in the way we need them to if we are clinging to how they used to be. If we hold on too tightly to something that’s just a dull memory, we won’t have enough hands to pick up our brushes and palettes and paint ourselves another sky even more vibrant than the last.