Sky blue feeling

There are blue sky moments in life. At least some of us have them. ‘I still can’t get my sky-blue feeling back’ (amazing pilots), ‘blind man on a canyon’s edge, of a panoramic scene’ (ben folds), ‘save me, from the ranks of the freaks, who suspect, they could never love anyone’ (aimee mann), ‘between that flick of the light, and the start of the dream’ (arcade fire), ‘but even if I were to even start, to tell them how it breaks my heart, never more would my truck stop friends look me in the eye again’ (divine comedy), ‘I’ve forgotten how to feel, it’s easier to fake it, so calling all the born-again, I need your tears and sweet amens, mercy out and mercy in, I hope that I can make it’ (duke special), ‘going over to susan’s house, she’s gonna make it right’ (the eels), ‘I choose my final thoughts today, switching off with you’ (elbow), ‘if there’s only one way to heaven, I think I might be forgiven, for just one second, I thought it was you’ (iain archer). ‘if heaven doesn’t exist, what will we have missed, this life is the best we’ll ever have’ (divine comedy), ‘love, love will tear us apart again’ (joy division), ‘I’m heading for a time of quiet, when my restlessness is past, and I can lie down on my blanket and release my fists at last’ (paul simon), ‘don’t get sentimental, it always ends up drivel, one day, I am going to grow wings, a chemical reaction, hysterical and useless’ (radiohead) ‘you can’t always get what you need, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need’ (rolling stones), ‘I am on your side, I am so alive, so alive’ (ryan admas), ‘Með blóðnasir, iõrar vel til loftárasa’ (sigur ros, in Icelandic, so I have no idea what it means, but it sounds very pretty), ‘sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for a destination’ (simon and garfunkel), ‘this could be the very moment, I’m aware I’m alive, all these places feel like home’ (snow patrol) ‘when you fall into a trance, sitting on the sofa playing games of chance, into the eyes of madame george’ (van morrisson) ‘maybe all I need is a shot in the arm’ (wilco).

That’s a brief selection (in largely alphabetical order from iTunes) of stuff that expresses a little bit of the sky-blue feeling. Something I rabbit on about quite a bit (see the previous blog on sun-beams). And I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever defined it really well. I suppose it’s a vague emotion, attached to a certain circumstance, usually mixed with a helping of melancholy for good measure. It’s something akin to joy. Or at least I think so. It’s one of the happiest feelings I’ve ever come across, the most satisfying things I’ve ever come across. CS Lewis’s autobiography (which I highly recommend of course!) was called surprised by joy. He talks about a similar type experience that lingered near him from childhood but he never quite got the grasp of till he became a believer.

Now it is probably apparent that I think about things quite a bit. Nothing is ever simple for me. Every decision and experience is subject to a good thrashing through my head to see if it stands up as true. I’m a big believer in truth, I’d never make a good post-modernist. Freedom, beauty, truth and love, as they sing about in Moulin Rouge.

I’m not sure I’d call the sky-blue feeling a noble pursuit in itself (the pursuit of happiness is a great song, but I can’t believe in it), and it’s led me astray on many occasions. I confuse the sky-blue feeling with freedom, beauty, truth and love. As they do in Moulin Rouge – ‘the greatest thing is just to love and be loved in return’. We settle for coals, instead of diamonds. The greatest thing is to glorify GOD and enjoy him forever. All freedom, beauty, truth and love is found in the pursuit of that.

And so the sky-blue feeling is only any use when it points me to the source. Being here is a big sky-blue feeling. There is the obvious literal blue skies to contend with, and a few monet-like vanilla skies for good measure. I have an ocean to stare at. I can kayak out past the harbour and stare back at the city and the hill and think about how long it would take me to paddle to chile. I can stare at the drunk people in the bars across the street and marvel at what they’ve mistaken for joy. I can drive across barren landscapes and imagine a place that was devoid of humans even 500 years ago. I can rejoice in the independence and the freedom of my life here, at the melancholy of the people I love so many thousand miles away, and I see my life as a movie and I’m morgan freeman walking down the beach at the end of the shawshank redemption and I’m away…

I have spent more time on my knees now than in a long time. But I’m still a sucker for a blue sky, an ocean and an ascending chord sequence.


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October 2006
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