The Virtues of Looking Up and Seeing the Sky



Blue skies in springtime Washington.



By Jack Limpert


For years I’ve been taking our dog to a nearby park for a morning walk—we go out onto an open field and the sky sometimes will be as clear and blue as you’ll ever see. We wander and play ball and then often I sit on a bench and look up and wonder about the big world out there.


Growing up in Wisconsin in the 1940s we had a lake cottage and we were there for most of our summers. We spent a lot of lazy time out on the water, fishing for perch and bluegills. When the fish weren’t biting, I’d often lay back and look up at the cloud formations.


When I moved to Washington and settled down with a wife, children, dog, and a job in journalism, we wanted a house near a park. We found one—the park had play areas and a big open field.


Early each morning I’d walk our dog to the park. Sometimes the sky was gray—I hoped it wasn’t an omen of problems. Usually you could see some clear sky and interesting cloud patterns.


Also lots of birds—in the fall formations of ducks flying south. Planes from National Airport headed skyward—where were they going, will the people inside be happy to get there?


At one point I had a chance to leave Washington to edit a bigger magazine in New York City. Before I went in to talk to them I looked up at the tall buildings around 57th Street and you could barely see any sky.


Did I really want to leave Washington where even in the middle of downtown DC you could look up and see lots of sky?


Where you could live a block from a park and each morning forget about the day’s news and look up and remember what it was like being a little kid out on a lake without a care in the world.


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