Innocent Pleasures: Nature’s poetry

Spring: The flirt of the seasons, in turns coquettish and bold and shy, is now upon us — at long last! Though loath to be disparaging of any such earnest enthusiasm (and respectful of the very real impacts of seasonal affective disorder), I cannot number myself among those rejoicers. 

I’m not immune to its charms: The abrupt reintroduction of green (a color I forgot could exist on trees), the direct beams of sun that make you feel like God’s favorite when they hit your face just so, the texture of windy days that remind you you’re alive, the possibility of any and all forms of precipitation; only spring has the range to deliver all of that, all at once. Officially, my favorite season is whichever one we’re presently in. If pressed, however, I will say spring — coincidentally (or is it?) the current season. Aside from it being the Laundry Day of seasons, representing rebirth, renewal, etc., it features the most ambiguously seasoned days. There is a prototype of the ‘perfect’ spring day that induces the masses to descend upon the President’s Lawn, but spring is inherently changeable and capricious. This issue of “Innocent Pleasures” therefore glorifies a notable constant throughout the season and indeed every season that serves as a fount of inspiration no matter the weather or calendar month so that the arrival of spring may be heralded not as deliverance but as new backdrop for this continual delight.

The sky is more than the subject of too many of my college app essays, my Halloween costume and a key component of two of my favorite architectural features: skylights and skybridges. It is the single greatest thing to exist, an infinite source of beauty and joy, the simplest of pleasures despite its complex inner workings (or so I imagine, being allergic to STEM). It is what sustains me throughout everything — and, in addition to being available from anywhere in the world, it’s free!

“Nature’s poetry,” as the Cloud Appreciation Society affectionately calls the object of their admiration, can be enjoyed in and of itself, yet it also allows for hours of entertainment with the practice of pareidolia, or seeing shapes in the clouds. But the fun the sky offers doesn’t necessitate clouds. While I respect CAS’s work, I take issue with their manifesto’s snide remark on “cloudless monotony.” The clarity of ‘plain’ blue or white sky makes for the perfect background for eye floater spotting, an endlessly engaging exercise that only requires you, the sky and microscopic fibers casting shadows on your retina. Next time you’re tempted to deem the sky too cloudy or not clouded enough, look up and let your gaze unfocus. It’s a more solitary diversion than cloud spotting or identification, but a testament to the sky’s versatility.

As my 17-year-old self thought essential to tell every other school besides Brown and Tufts University, the sky “will never again look as it does in this moment.” As spring continues to be a fickle mistress, I urge you to keep your head in the clouds, ever-changing yet always there, and cherish them, come what may.


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