The Sky! The Sky!

I was expecting this to happen.  I knew that sooner or later I would get a little homesick and I would start to crave something.

When I was in Guatemala for a long time, I would crave Southern biscuits and honey.  While walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain it was an old-fashioned American hamburger.   Dr Pepper is another favorite  thing on my wish list when I know it can’t be found.

Here in PNG, I knew I was missing something but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  At first I thought it was the wind we have at home, you know “where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.”  It’s never windy here, only managing a breeze every now and then, at least where we are.

Then I thought it was sunsets.  If you follow me on Twitter or have read some of my pre-PNG blog posts, you know that I love to take HDR photos of sunsets, especially the ones with a wide spectrum of colors, blues, purples, reds, etc.  The sunsets here at St. Fidelis are blocked by hills and the lush overgrowth of trees and I have yet to see a single one.

The last couple of days I’ve been reading “Death Comes For The Archbishop”, a truly great novel by Willa Cather.  Published in 1927, it seems to deftly captures the essence of the Church in mid-19th century New Mexico.  If you like historical fiction about the American Southwest, you should definitely pick this up.

Even though I feel very patriotically for Oklahoma, I was born in New Mexico and spent some years there during high school and college.   I knew what I was missing when I read this in Cather’s novel:


“The ride back to Santa Fé was something under four hundred miles. The weather alternated between blinding sand-storms and brilliant sunlight. The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still, — and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world. The plain was there, under one’s feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud. Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it. Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. The landscape one longed for when one was far away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!”


This coastal area of PNG is lush and beautiful.  Most people would call it a paradise, or at least one of the most beautiful parts of the South Pacific.  For me though, it just hasn’t touched me yet.  This is not what I long for.

Long ago I was captivated by the wide open plains of New Mexico and West Texas, full of places where one can see 30 miles in every direction.  Horizon to horizon in a full circumference.  What I’m craving are the open sky and the grand vistas with colorful sunrises, sunsets and fleets of clouds that go with them.

I’m sure I’ll find something like that here in PNG at some point, but for now I’m left wanting and I have to satisfy myself with some of the photos I have  here on my computer, and now share with you.    I hope you enjoy these, taken  in Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Ireland, Guatemala and Haiti.

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7 thoughts on “The Sky! The Sky!

  1. Your pics are beautiful! I’ve traveled very little – you are so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience being in different spaces, different winds and waters!

    Hope you have a peaceful week…and keep those pictures coming, please~

  2. John, I keep on reviewing Steve’s post for a comment about the beauty of Texas – can’t find it but I’ll keep looking.

    Steve, when I first moved to Nashville from OK I remember feeling claustrophobic due to the tall trees that prevented 360 degree views. What a great description of the west – from a great book too!

    • I felt claustrophobic too when I first moved to Stillwater – and it’s on the plains! It’s rolling hills blocked my view of the horizon. It’s funny how our perspectives change. I’m certain that I’ll need some time in the desert when I get back, just to reset my compass.

  3. As a child of the mountains, I thought everything was JUST TOO FLAT the summer I worked at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. My work location overlooked Lake Erie and I know some people would be thrilled to work ‘at the beach’ all summer, but I definitely missed my mountains!

    It’s a different perspective, depending on what you’re used to. I remember that at KKPsi National Convention in Stillwater in ’89, we looked out of the window and saw a tornado. You assured us that it was miles away from us, and weren’t quite sure why we were so concerned – until we explained that when you live in the mountains, if you can see the tornado, it’s up close and personal and you’re probably in trouble!

    • I remember that conversation from the dorm room in OSU’s Willham North Tower. In the middle of July that whole floor was a like a meat locker. What I wouldn’t give for that air conditioner now!

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