April 18, 2016

MOSKOWITZ | Everything Above

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The sky terrifies me. It sends looming dark clouds, masses of black that swirl together. They become sheets of darkness, sprinting to cover a stretch of blue or the beaming sun. They seem almost to come in waves. And when they crash, they send blackness down upon the landscape.  They turn the bright green blades of grass that cover the slope into obscured pointed clusters. They turn a sturdy oak tree, with branches sticking out full of brilliant vegetation that swings in the air into a dim silhouette that shakes uncontrollably in the wind. I shudder when I see them in the sky, covering the world in a shade of black that one could almost mistake for a layer of ash. Sometimes I feel that ash covering me, seeping into my skin, obscuring what lies down below that which never comes above.

When I watch storm clouds, my fingers almost seem to shake and my muscles tighten. You feel the anticipation in the muggy air and you can taste that wet air on your tongue. You can hear the anticipation when the birds stop chirping and gusts of wind — whooshing every couple of moments — the only things that can be heard in your vicinity. Then comes the first tiny water droplets, colliding onto those blackened blades of grass, little drops of liquids which push their stems down into the ground. They begin a steady patter, the sound of thousands of little steps colliding on pavement in a dark world. Finally, the clouds melt into each other, forming one solid wall of complete darkness above my head. I see slight shifts and breaks, but the sky now resembles an unbroken plain of black, the terrifying monster which reigns above.  Sheets of rain pour down from them, covering every surface in a layer of wetness. Dark pools form and black streams run down streets and pavements, hunting for lower ground. Sometimes, I think they seem to spread the ash, dispersing it all over the landscape and letting it seep into the dirt.

The sky emboldens me. When I walk around Cornell’s campus at dusk, I sometimes see an explosion of orange that sets the sky ablaze. They burn the clouds into glowing oranges, which light up the world around them, turning each blade of grass into a gleaming yellow spear that cuts through the air. The clouds creep along under the weight of their burning armor, resembling strong flames that almost explode in the red-tinted sky. They move over hills and valleys, filling them with the last rays of sunlight and turning the masses of green foliage into gleaming seas of crystals, sparkling with white bursts under the remaining sun’s reach.

I can feel the heat of those rays on my skin. It scorches the back of my neck, but I enjoy the feeling. The air remains hot, but light and easy to breath down my lungs. I sit down under the shade of a sturdy oak tree. Here, I can lie under its far-reaching branches, and stare at the green leaves, each sailing in the wind. They wave up and down, the motion of a seesaw that children bounce back and forth upon. Above the swaying leaves, sits the colorful vivid sky and its sweltering clouds. My chest rises and my back stands up straight, emboldened by the blazing view which bursts in front of my eyes.

Yet during those days when the dusk comes ablaze, the world wishes to burn. And every part, no matter how deep it has been buried, no matter how far down it seeps, it can be burned out and returned to everything above.