When I was a little kid, we had a painting. (I think My Dad’s coworker had a painter friend, who lived in Philadelphia but had a painting showing at a gallery in Woodstock, VT, pretty near us. The painting needed to leave the gallery, and the painter didn’t want to pay for the shipping, so they asked my Dad to get the painting and hold onto it until they could come up and get it.) It lived with us on our wall, in the hallway confluence between the living room and the stairs and our kitchen door. It was a painting of the sky. We had a couple of other paintings in the house with real paint. Paint by numbers that my Mom had done. A really big dark one of a city skyline. But that sky painting was really different. It was really big, the colors were bright and luminous. The clouds seemed to roll. I could step back and love the whole thing, or I could get lost in the brush strokes in one little moment or color surprise. It is the first painting I remember loving. It felt like a portal of beauty, pouring something into our house that was a true gift. It stayed for a few years I think, long enough that I forgot it wasn’t part of the family, and when the owners came to get it, I had to retreat to the backyard to nurse a young broken heart for a little while. I like to think it taught me how to look at the sky, always changing, always a portal to the beauty.