"the view from the afternoon"

It is only eleven past five and orange and soft purple already tint the sky.   Gray clouds hover above people hurrying in the street, all itching to leave their places of work, all wanting to get home in time for the evening news, dinner with family, or their favorite telenovelas.

I am one of these people.  I gladly leave the office when the clock strikes five and I look forward to doing one of my favorite things – walking under the vast skies.

Before I can catch my ride home, I have to walk for some five minutes before I reach the transport terminal.   There is a mall near my office building and many of my colleagues prefer to walk inside the mall to get to the terminal; I don’t.  Instead, I prefer to walk on the pavement
beside the parking lot of the mall.  The pavement is clean and safe.  It is also exposed.  There are no roofs covering my view of the sky.

I like looking up into the sky.  I love the way the clouds look and move.  I love how slivers of sunlight cut through the clouds, or when there is an opening in the clouds that allows rays of light to pass through.

The sky and clouds are works of art.  They are like humongous unframed paintings whose colors are free to spill in every direction.  The clouds are also like soft sculptures, which can either be colossal and imposing, or feather like and thin.  Unlike usual works of art though, the sky is alive and constantly moves.

What seems like an avalanche from a snow-covered mountain now, can be a herd of running dark horses the next.   After a while, they will look as harmless and friendly as strands of cotton candy.

They are endlessly creating new scenes.  And they are endlessly collapsing.

Although the mall can offer airconditioning and protection from the elements, this is one thing of beauty that the mall can never give.  Moreover, I cannot stand the noise of that mall – loud music blasting from throbbing speakers, a million mouths chattering at the same time. Instead of comfort, I am bombarded and merely annoyed.  There are times though that I do walk inside it especially when it is raining, but most of the time, I walk outside.  I like the pavement better because there are fewer people.  The rumbling of the cars may sometimes be distracting but it is still quieter.  Before I set out to walk, I choose the perfect songs to accompany me, listen to them, and watch other fellow pedestrians and the sky go by.  A little peaceful world of my own.

This is probably the only thing I will miss when I leave my office — hopefully soon.

P.s.  I have stumbled upon an interesting site on rare cloud formations.  For those who might be interested, you can check it out here.

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