By Tessa McClary

The sky is like a photograph. Clouds fanning out in a swoop of sea foam, rose-white-gold-shining dapple a clear blue sky. Today, until the evening opened up a few moments ago, the temperature was consistently over a hundred degrees. But finally the day has given us a breath of movement. It has unwrapped itself like a gift, shedding its wrapping paper of heat.

How many minutes ticked away as we waited for this subtle cool to arrive, feeling the pervasive heat embracing us like an fur coat? The day was an overzealous host, benevolent and giving of warmth, when it was least wanted.  We pull the shades down, and sit in the warm darkness of the indoors. We compliment our own efforts to ward off the invasion of heat. But it keeps its presence known: a bead of sweat rolls down your skin, or the heat rearranges the tiny hairs on your forearm. Try to draw your thoughts to tasks, or contemplation, or socializing, and your body tugs you back, saying, “The Heat, the Heat, the Heat.”

I tolerate it with good temper, but finally, in the evening, I desperately wish for some respite. At seven I decide to crack open the window, armed with the dubious hope that a wave of heat will not roll in through the screen. And…yes! A balance point is tangible: the indoors and outdoors are one temperature. At this discovery I pull open the windows fully, slide the heavy panes, to simultaneously budge the calm stillness of the shaded indoor air and unlock the wonderful potential of later-evening cool.

Back to the picture in the sky: it is the photo that looks like the sky, not the opposite. These snapshots we notice, choose to paint or capture with the lens, are windows into extreme beauty. The original need not catalogue its prior incarnations to maintain a consistent identity through changing moments. And to witness this continuance puts us back into time, into the relief of motion, like the circulation of air after a day of heat. As I watch, the sky turns pink. Onwards the clouds flow—a balance of sky, fluff, and setting sun. Nature is at once our model and our home.