I never tire of gazing upwards. Every sight is different. Stars may be set in well known families and formations, documented on parchment, yet each viewing of the night sky is different. Clouds and moodily lit skies tell new stories with each breath of air.
The skies remind me that despite our belief otherwise, individually we are tiny and insignificant. Despite what we are doing to the planet as a race, we are almost non existent in the face of the elements.
Recently I was returning from Bangkok from my last round of medical checks, and as always opted to sit in a aisle seat. Those monsoon flights may be short but the rain and attitude-filled skies can be alarming to fly through. Better not to look at those clouds too closely as we fly through them.
My late afternoon flight was approaching Yangon, and I could see that the the cabin was taking on a golden hue. Appropriate for arrival in the Golden Land. I glanced across the empty seat beside me past my fellow passenger at the window seat and was immediately captivated by the skyscape outside. There were layers of cloud, and the setting sun reflecting on the waters far below of the Gulf of Martaban, the northern part of the Andaman Sea.
Automatically, my hand was reaching into my bag for my camera to capture the magic in front of my eyes.
Whereupon I came face to face, quite literally, with a bit of a challenge. In the form of the passenger across the empty seat, who was comfortably eating her spicy Thai in flight meal in her window seat. It is impossible to be unobtrusive in these situations, but I did try, leaning over and angling the camera so that I did not capture her shoulders and noodles. She also looked up and snapped some pictures on her phone.
Within a few moments, the scene had changed. The light had altered, the reflection dimmed and the other-wordly scene outside taken on a much more familiar look. By happy coincidence, and the good nature of my fellow passenger, however, I had been able to capture and preserve the sight.
It has been a while since I have changed my background image here, and photograph of that moment provides just the right opportunity to change that right now, and share that moment right now.
In these days when we stare into our phones and devices oblivious to our surroundings, there is a stronger reminder than ever to pause, look upwards and drink in the free, ever changing moving pictures in the skies above us.