The Import of a Cloudy Day

(Image credit: Chris Metcalf)

In a world where greys and blues are the colors of low moods, I still find myself inspired by the wide expanse of the Dakota sky — thick-muscled as it is with striated bands of white and varying hues of blue-grey, forming this creeping, layered leviathan that threatens to pour life down upon the Earth . . .

and we are at odds. The cool breeze is comfort and the rain is balm. There is nothing sad, gloomy, or depressing about a cloudy day or a rainy one, is there? I suppose if it ruins an outdoor party and there is no contingency plan, that’s a bad deal.

“Life for your crop.”
— Stephen King’s Roland of Gilead, after spitting on a farmer’s field.

Water is life.

But the sky here extends from ground to ground all around; its oft-striking appearance: flat as a pane of glass, lending impossible geometry to the American plains. How can we not touch this? Blanketed with clouds on a day like this, the crucible sun spilling molten gold into that one telltale spot, the sky is a canvas of primal artwork begging to be studied by inquisitive minds. The sheer expanse of it drew my eyes when I arrived six years ago, and it continues to do so today.

An hour later, and it’s raining. The sky, once so interesting, has turned to a solid hue that fades from dove grey in the northeast to iron in the southwest, with just a light marbling of clouds that are vanishing even as they strafe the town. What happens when you go to war and your only ammunition is yourself?

Or does it matter, as the immortal clouds are reborn?

You may ask yourself:
why did I write this?
The short answer is, Writing 101. I’ve been slacking. I signed up for it and I’m inaugurating day 8. And also because there is water underground, just as the Talking Heads told us; it’s the same as it ever was.


  1. This is poetic and beautiful. Wow. Read it twice. Really very striking.
    I just said to my son tonight as the rain poured down that there is something freeing and wonderful and cozy about a grey, cool, rainy day – it’s fresh after the heat, and it lets you curl up guilt-free with a book, which is what we did instead of going to his planned activities.

Feel free to share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s