There are particular and rare days in Michigan when a cloudless sky dawns a crisp, brilliant blue. We call that a ‘Michigan Day’ in our family. Being so close to the lake, we are most used to clouds, fog, and haze. So, when the barometer abruptly rises, the immensity and intensity of a blue-blue-blue dome overhead brings a euphoria that can’t be contained.
We relished two such days this past week. The heat and humidity were swept away by invisible winds, surrounding our part of the world in that uniquely ultramarine blue so favored by painters like Vincent Van Gogh, who once said that he never tired of the blue sky (as most of his paintings illustrate).
Such a sky, so sharp yet inviting, is alive with birds and insects, an expanse that welcomes all comers with its blue benevolence. These are days that make me want to wrap the sky around my shoulders like a cobalt cape, and remind me of my early childhood when I secretly thought I could fly. Oh to join the birds! I’ve settled for sailing and rowing instead. These kinds of days are energizing too. Maybe that is because of all the colors of the visible spectrum, the blue rays have the most energy. As a result, the blues are also the most easily scattered by atmospheric particles, thus we see a generally all-blue sky on days of unfettered sun.
In summer, the Walton brothers haunt the barometer with quiet intensity for these extraordinary days where water and sky are twins, when winds and waves are steady, the sun boundless, and the itch to paddle strong. This time, they canoed from Point Betsie lighthouse to Otter Creek, just south of the Sleeping Bear (and back), a trip of about 20 miles. They were able to raft their Kruger canoes together and sail with the westerly wind most of the way, mesmerized by the sights, smells, and sounds that accompany a hearty day on the water.
When the wind moves you under the yellow eye of the sun, with that expansive ultramarine sky reflected in the cold, cobalt waters, it would seem that it might make you feel small and insignificant. Not so! Your heart swells in an inexplicably spacious way when riding upon the deeps with the sky around your shoulders.
It is like drinking bottomless draughts of beauty from the wellspring of the cosmos.
Some call it a high. For a time, you can understand that this is how God meant us to experience his Creation and appreciate that he gave us all this to enjoy and care for.
In my camp days, we sang a song about blue skies. I leave it with you as a benediction.
May all of your days bloom like daisies in the sun. May you always have stars in your eyes. May you not stop running, not until your race is won. May you always have blue skies.
Photo Credit: MLWalton 7/7/2018