Keep our eyes on the skies for daily gift of wonder

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It's sometimes weird how I come up with ideas for this column every couple of weeks. Sometimes it's a wild thought, sometimes there's an inspirational event, and sometimes it's a last-minute aha.

In this case, the topic was borne of frequent sightings of unusual skies around the Lowcountry. The abundant storms (for 10 minutes or 10 hours) we've experienced in the past several weeks have been accompanied by incredibly vibrant sky pictures.

By that, I mean the skies have reminded me of classic masterpieces, pop culture icons and abstract wonders, painted in far-reaching swaths of deep colors, rich hues, and striking shadows.

Just this evening, following another pop-up storm, the dark clouds seemed concentrated in deep blues and grays, with jagged shapes -perhaps created by the wind.

On my drive home (trying to pay more attention to the road than the sky), I noticed at first the shape of the head of a wild boar (or maybe it was a wolf?), and then next to it appeared Winnie the Pooh.

A couple of miles later, the purple-black cloud formations resembled the falling figure from the introduction of the TV series "Mad Men."

Here in our coastal home, we are indeed fortunate to have visual access to tremendous vistas of nothing but sky, connecting effortlessly to our beaches, golf courses, communities and even our roadways.

Many years ago, driving home late one afternoon on an open stretch of William Hilton Parkway with my then 4-year-old son Clark, a brilliant sunset suddenly appeared before us.

As a new mom in the habit of pointing out to my child all the wonders around us, I said to him, "Look at that beautiful sky! The sunset is so pretty!" He seemed only slightly interested, and my other brain took over. I'm a writer, but had always wanted to be an artist. I said (mostly to myself, but out loud), "I wish I could paint the sky."

To which my precious, logical and thoughtful child replied, "You'd need a big ladder."

There have been many sunsets, stormy skies, and dramatic lightning shows we've seen since then, and every one seems better than the last. There have also been hundreds of clear blue sky days, with clouds that are bright white and fluffy. (Our family calls those "Toy Story" clouds.)

Sunsets have been particularly stunning this summer. I'm not sure if this is related to the weather, or the season, or some atmospheric condition, but those fiery oranges and reds, along with purples, pinks, and yellows have been mesmerizing.

Every time I think I've seen "the best sunset ever," friends will post on social media gorgeous photos of their views of it that make me think I missed something.

The same might be true of sunrises, but honestly, I don't see many of those. I hear (and see photographic evidence) the can be spectacular as well.

What an amazing visual we are given every day!

Funny, but every time I see a magnificent sky, as I have so often lately, my first thought is, "I wish I could paint the sky."

Anybody got a big ladder?

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