Quick note to y'all during the lunch break. "Lunch," in this case, includes M&Ms (sorry, WM; no Skittles mixed in).
Yesterday, on my way over to Kansas City for this Forum workshop thing, I had the top down on my new VW Rabbit Convertible (Oh, yes; let's update that to read, "Gremlins: 1, Chris: 4."). One of the things I lost in Seattle commuting was the enjoyment of driving. Part of that came from the heavy traffic; part from the jerk-bunny drivers, like that Volvo driver who tried to kill me on my motorcycle one day; part from having to commute every day; but perhaps the biggest part came from my just forgetting how much I enjoy driving or riding. WM, WM-boy, Kij, and I would often cycle around the Seattle area when I lived out there. Before I started with Microsoft, I drove or rode around Seattle's many wonders almost every day. But sometime during my employment with the Evil Empire, I forgot, even with the view of Mt. Ranier to the south as I crossed the floating bridge, or Mt. Baker north-ish, or all the rest of the amazing sights.
Well, I've been thinking a lot lately about things I lost - rather, let myself lose. This hit home for me on the way here last night. Those of you familiar with approaching storms in the Midwest will know what I mean, but those who haven't spent thunderstorm season in this part of the country cannot likely picture what I saw. I'll give it a shot.
Nearing sunset. Overhead, the sky was almost perfectly clear, that deep blue before the sun goes away. To the south rose massive, towering thunderheads like mountains of vanilla ice cream laced g with cherry syrup. Above those and bisecting the entire southern sky stood the approaching cold front, a smooth curving expanse of cloud cutting into the blue sky. As I drove, these clouds moved closer and the sky began to haze up a bit throughout. As the sun settled toward the western horizon, it transformed into a blood-red disk amid the growing fog; at the opposite edge of the sky, the full moon rose - a paler copy of the sun, both ruddy and alien.
I smiled and remembered a childhood dream of exploring the moons of Jupiter. This is what it would be like to fly in the top layers of the Jovian atmosphere, I realized. This was a wholly alien scene, wonderful and glorious, something that reminded me of what I'd let myself forget I loved.
If you love the sky as I do and you don't feel comfortable riding a two-wheeler, consider getting yourself a convertible. Because you can see the sky again - you're a part of it with the top down - and it makes driving a pleasure.