Friday, January 28, 2022

Flat Out Gorgeous



ARtful Life
Tara O’Neill

B7-CBN-9-5-14-5Chances are that if you’re reading this in the paper, you live here year-round, or you are someone revolutionary enough to visit Florida in summer — when the really exotic stuff happens.

Yes, it’s hot; it’s buggy; it rains alot. But, the number one complaint among Floridaphiles is that it’s so darn humid. Some days are like breathing through a wet army blanket, but it’s easily worth it to experience the extravagant theater of summer skies.

Are you on Facebook? Facebook is flush with South Florida sky photographs, and not just sunrises and sunsets but also perfect white puffs scudding levelly under blue glass ceilings; thunder-filled monsters towering over rooftops like fluffy Godzillas ready to stomp us; feather clouds and cottage cheese clouds. Nimbus, cirrus, cumulous, stratus and multiple combinations, all brought to you by the wet heat of summer. Ain’t it grand?

Funny thing happened the other day: My husband and I were enjoying family posts on Facebook when a deluge of sunset photos started popping up on the screen. We “oohed” and “ahhed” and clicked and scrolled until my dearest looked at me and said, “You know, we do live one block from the beach.” That was a double-blink moment.

He grabbed the beach chairs, and I grabbed the camera (go figure). Five minutes later, there it was, our sky. A kaleidoscope of colors sprayed over every cloud found in the Audubon Guide Book of Clouds (oh yes, there is one, and I own a well-thumbed copy). And the people, the people on the beach all looked so…so inspired. While cameras clicked, sweethearts remembered being sweethearts and held hands; runners, walkers and sitters were all smiling, their faces turned



naked and joyful to the greatest show above earth. A couple waltzed. Then a passerby drew our attention to what was happening behind our backs.

Have you ever noticed how the sunsets in summer can be even more flamboyant when facing east? Those massive cumulonimbus come sliding across the Everglades towards the Gulf oF Mexico, and the setting sun slaps them full in the face. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which way to turn when you’re so magnificently surrounded.

These are not the skies of winter nor spring, when the humidity drops and the high pressure systems roll in bringing dry air and clear skies. Those skies have a much quieter beauty. The dawn wakes by gently sliding a silver note under the blue-black pillow of night. The note opens. The sky is blue. Later, the sun lays a thin blanket of pink and orange over the horizon, and drops it’s weary head upon, and then under it. The last light fades, and the stars take over. The winter stars. With low humidity and away from lights, the stars canvas the sky from one horizon to the other.

Ironically, what most visitors to South Florida criticize is one of our finest assets — our complete flatness. You hear them, “No mountains, no hills, no views at all unless you’re on the water.”

And I say to them, “Oh yes, we have mountains and hills, and Godzillas and bunnies and sheep and feathers and cottage cheese, and even the vaguest of poodles. And they change constantly. Every day. Stop by some summer.”

To my kind readers: I’ll be travelling the month of September, and will enjoy extended periods of being quite off the grid. So I hope, like me, that you’ll be looking forward to my next column October 17.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *