Finding the gaps in the Clouds

I don’t know why but the sky fascinates me. As a child I could get lost for ages just making up imaginary animals with the shapes of the clouds. I’ve always loved just staring at the stars, watching for shooting stars. Some of my best memories – times that have just taken you straight into the moment where nothing else matters but the fun you are having right then and there – have been out camping and watching the night sky. Necks craned or kids lying on blankets just staring into the sky, hoping to be the first to spot a shooting star – lots of laughter when someone starts snoring nearby or we see a shooting star and one of our party was looking the other way and missed it – again. A mini competition about who can see the most. One year when the kids were much younger, they’d taken themselves into the tent to bed – whilst we decided to stick it out a bit longer – a lot of laughter and the kids shouting to tell us to ‘be quiet we are trying to get to sleep’ – that didn’t do much to quell the laughter from our end. Being told off for being too noisy by the kids!!

But I loved those moments – staring out into the Universe which is awe inspiring and so much bigger than we can ever imagine. But what was also magical was sharing it with the kids, seeing their excitement and loving their amazement at seeing a shooting star. But it was also great sharing it with an amazing friend. These are moments I come back to sometimes – they are ones in ‘the bank’ for the days when the sky seems too cloudy to see much. Sometimes the sky can reflect your mood. The pink streaks the other day lifted the spirits – the grey clouds today challenges the desire to be optimistic.

But as I headed out today I kept looking up and 5 minutes into my journey – there was a gap – a pale blue patch of blue sky starting to push the grey clouds apart. So I thought I’d use that to try and push my own mood to open out a bit – find that bit of brightness there. And that’s when the image of us all staring up at the stars on our camping trip came into mind. Fun, happy memories, just like the blue sky – are never far away.

Apart from the stars and a beautiful blue sky – what I love the most to look out for is the broken rainbow. The shards of rainbow colours that are high in the sky when there is no rain. I know meteorologists will have a perfectly reasonable explanation for how these are formed – but for me they are an Elliot sign. He’s snapped off a bit of a rainbow to play with. We always said that Elliot would have been a great toy tester – could something stand the challenge of Elliot’s mischievous hands? One time when we were round at friends, I made the mistake of letting Elliot be quiet and out of sight for a few moments. He then proudly came into the kitchen where we were and showed us something. For a while no one could work out what it was – then we figured it – Elliot had somehow taken the front cover of a music speaker. How, we had no idea – but I think he was pretty impressed with himself.

Elliot died in early March. That year we had a lot of snow in March – one day it could be lovely sunshine, the next it was snowing and then hailing. We always said that Elliot had got hold of the weather remote control and was causing his usual chaos.

But the broken rainbow is more symbolic than just my need to know that Elliot is ok, that his spirit and cheekiness is still with us somehow. His older brother and sister play cricket. Elliot had been to practically every game since he was two weeks old. The first cricket game after Elliot died, there was a broken rainbow in the sky above the pitch. The main times I have seen these have been connected to the kids playing cricket, either at the ground or travelling too and from games. For me that’s Elliot letting us know he is still here, still watching over his brother and sister.

Might sound a bit mad but you find you own patch of blue sky wherever you can don’t you.

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