Since I moved to Phoenicia, New York, the sky has become my main cultural influence. I can’t afford to go to the movies; I have no TV; I don’t like trees, or grass. So each morning I’m relieved to see the sky appear, with her curious, fresh ideas.
In Manhattan, where I formerly dwelt, only a partial sky exists. Man-made mountains delimit her expanse. Here, God-made mountains cut off the sky. I am grateful for these encumbrances. A total sky demands total attention.
The following is my Catskill sky journal. (All shapes referred to are clouds.)
1:08 P.M.: The sky is a uniform light blue — the blue of a lake, not of the sea — with, at the edges, a few smudgy Nike insignias.
4:18 P.M.: A faint image of a bunny turns into a pair of pliers.
5:49 P.M.: Three abstract angels swooping down.
9:31 A.M.: A pale, diffident sky. In the center I see a sheep, then Ezra Pound, then nothing.
6:02 P.M.: The sky has grown paler and paler all day. Now it is white as an egg. To the north, Goofy, the cartoon character, swaggers.
5:38 A.M.: A low, watchful, suspicious sky. I find myself moving through the house surreptitiously, as if the firmament were a cop. (Do skies remind me of cops because they both wear blue?)
8:49 A.M.: A sensitive, muted gray sky, reminiscent of Chopin’s Nocturnes and Don Cherry’s jazz solos.
2:00 P.M.: An exhaustive thunderstorm.
2:41 P.M.: The sky has cleared, and I see in the distance a demon from Ghostbusters wearing a catcher’s mask.
9:04 A.M.: The sky is joyous, as if it has just thought of something brilliant to say.
3:14 P.M.: A large elephantine shadow in the south, which appears to be defecating.
3:28 P.M.: A strong, alarming wind emerges from the elephantine shadow.
4:05 P.M.: A troubled sky, a sky that needs therapy.
7:38 A.M.: A bearded genie above Mount Tremper, with arms folded.
6:51 P.M.: A crowd of fat, laughing clowns.
2:15 P.M.: A bent drinking straw.
7:31 P.M.: A giant impression of lips on the sky, as if God is kissing us from above.
3:42 P.M.: High in the sky, almost directly overhead, a fissure resembling a vagina.
7:42 A.M.: An opaque expanse — a sky wearing a sky mask.
6:15 A.M.: The sky is white around the edges, as if the man painting it ran out of blue.