I'm visiting my parents in Albuquerque for a few days. One thing that always strikes me when I come back to the southwest is the view of the sky. I don't mean to speak ill of the midwestern skies, which are often lovely, but there is a difference.
It's a different type of beauty here with vivid blues and whites as big well-defined clouds pile deep on the western horizon. I don't know enough about meteorology to say for sure, but I think the climate here produces a different kind of cloud formation. I see massive thunderheads piling in banks or sailing along like individual roaming mountains.
It's odd to think of clouds as "massive" but there is nothing wispy about these giants. Seen from the ground they seem as solid and imposing as the granite mountains to the east. It's easy to imagine walking or climbing on them.
These are the kind of clouds that tempt the imagination too, with their solid seeming fantastic shapes they look like colossal impressionist sculptures. Last night I must have been in an Egyptian mood because I saw a sphinx sitting a bust of Anubis, with his jackal ears and sharp muddle presiding over a sea of monuments and sarcophagi.
Then again, maybe it's just that when I'm at home, I'm too busy to watch the sky.