Florida holds the skies of my heart. In winter time, those sparse few weeks where the oppressive heat does not come down upon your head like a bucket of luke-warm scuzzy bathwater once used on your cat—the cool night heavens are alight with painters frenzy. Bright slash-ribbons of 1920’s red lipstick curl lazily in whisps through the pansy-purple clouds that dot the horizon.
In summer, the Florida sunsets turn into a pure riot of gold before a fireplace; red from winter is still there, but the skies are tainted golden with dying sun. The clouds are much more responsive and seem to blush baby-belly pink as if knowing what sweet whispers the moon has been saying to the sun to bend her ear down into the night. I could stand in my back yard and wish for it to be sunset forever.
And yet, Alberta skies hold their own charm.
Here, you can be cramped in the city where buildings and their lights crowd out the stars, or shoved into little communities with their carbon cut out homes that leave six feet of space between one or the other and drive—and all it takes is twenty minutes give or take before you’re in the middle of no where.
Yellow wheat fields that go on forever and ever to the right and left of black, cracks-fixed-up-with-tar-viens highway pavement. Stalks of alphalpha from last year awaiting tilling and replanting; elk, jersey cows, Arabians, clydesdale, horses and donkeys idly chewing behind picket fences that go as far as the never ending highway itself. Green patches of spring-renewal that sit oddly out in the stark gold of old wheat.
And then there is the sky. It meets every gentle slope and endless flat. It starts off the clearest blue when you stare directly up and fades to the pastel bright when it tricks the eye into thinking it is licking the tops of wheat far out on horizon. The clouds are not the thin painter’s fan brush stokes as they are some times in Florida. They are always thick, happy little Bob Ross clouds with dark gray, flat bottoms and cotton ball fluffy white tops and dot the blue like pearls in a sea of evening-gown silk. It stretches and curves above you, making you think as if you were truly trapped in a snowglobe of endless brightness.
Further out, passing all of this are the tips of the Rockies thrusting proudly over the dulled down hills of grain. Dark at the base with charcoal gray, the stark tips of blue-white make me think of stately crowns in crystal.
Don’t get me wrong…I love Florida, it holds my heart. I will be coming home to it and embracing it’s stuffy overwhelmingly wet-hotness soon, chasing lizards in my backyard with gusto.
But Alberta holds my childhood. It is painted in hard lessons learned, sadness, and the lofty white crown of hope for tomorrow.