I started this year’s posts with an essay about optimism, and I want to end January on the same note. When I am feeling optimistic (or need to), I find myself looking up and opening my arms to that vast open space we call sky. This is the first place my eyes land each morning and the last place I look to before going to sleep each night. I am drawn to the sky just as strongly as I am connected to the earth. I seek the sky’s openness. I feel her power and possibility. I admire her ever-changing moods and masterpieces.

Lately, perhaps because it is winter and there are fewer plants and insects to capture my wandering attention, I’ve spent a lot of my outdoor time looking up at the sky. From one minute to the next, the sky rarely looks the same, yet she is always there above us, embracing the Earth’s crustal plane, orchestrating weather events, capturing heat and carbon, lifting birds and planes in flight, and giving us a glorious place to gaze during uncomfortable conversations. At night, sky unveils other celestial brothers and sisters – moons, stars, and planets.

For these reasons and more, it is hard – perhaps useless – to try to describe the essence of sky-ness. Yet, every time I look up into its brilliant blue, moody gray, vibrant gold, or deep darkness at night, I wonder in awe at sky’s power and magic and try to think of ways to describe her impact on me… recently, a poem came to me:


Door to the universe
Stretching from earth’s crusty plain
To the dark and airless heavens above

Wearing all the colors of the rainbow
Blue, green, red, orange, yellow, purple
Sometimes all at once or not at all  

Setting the days’ moods 
Announcing the weather to come
Sky watches over all the Earth and its beings

She kisses my face with a gentle breeze
Brings tears of rain and dancing snow
I pull her into my lungs, breathing

Living, loving the sensation of
Looking up into her vast open wings
And opening my arms back to her

Moody and mighty
Dynamic and daunting
Portal to souls and spirits

Connecting us to the universe
Wrapping us in her embrace
Opening us to possibility


– Deb Hanson – 2021

Sky gives us hope and reminds us that everything is impermanent, a reason to make the most of every moment we are given here on earth. She greets us each day with new opportunities and brings us closer to the rest of the universe each night. I took the following photos during the past few years. They capture only a fraction of the moods and essence of sky-ness, but they each remind us that we are part of a beautiful universe, connected and unlimited.

What are you optimistic about right now?

What keeps you feeling optimistic?


  1. Sometimes it’s hard to be optimistic, but it’s always good to have encouragement and reasons to look up.

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