# The Canvas Above

I notice the sky a lot more when I am up here in Stonington than I do in Columbus. I think that is because, when you are down by the harbor, the sky seems so huge and wide and sweeping, with a horizon that is absurdly far away. The sky is not fenced in and limited by trees, houses, and buildings, like it is in Columbus or any other city.

The unfettered sky seems like a gigantic artist’s canvas, where the wind and sun shape and color the clouds into brushstrokes on the blue background and illuminate the island masses below. And when a stray seagull wheels into the frame and soars past, as in the picture above, it’s like Mother Nature generously shared her artwork just with me.

# The Sky Always Comes Last

Richard and Julianne decided to buy a jigsaw puzzle while they were here.  (Curse them!)  We spent part of their visit working on the puzzle, which features a painting of a beach scene at twilight, with about half of the picture consisting of the sky.  (Curse them both!)

Of course, we couldn’t finish the puzzle during their visit.  (Of course!)  So the unfinished puzzle sat there on the dining room table, taunting me, its bizarrely shaped pieces spread across the polished wooden surface.  (Heh hehYou’ll never finish me, old man!)  So I spent part of Sunday working on it, and finally completed the water, the beach, and the horizon, which left me with . . . the sky.  (Give up, old manFeel the sting of failure when, after weeks of frustration and anguish, you finally sweep me, uncompleted, back into the box and put me in a closet hoping you never see me again!)

It is a standard rule that, in any jigsaw puzzle of an outdoor scene, the sky will always be the last part of the puzzle that gets completed.  (The sky is unconquerable!)  That is because the sky is always the hardest part of the puzzle, and the normal progression of puzzle completion goes from easiest to hardest — first the edges, then the obvious landmarks, then everything else but the sky.  (The sky rules!)  And then the puzzler hits the wall and all of the accumulated momentum and false hopes crash and burn, and finishing the puzzle becomes a cold, hard slog of trying to find one miserable piece at a time.  (Heh hehThat’s rightThat’s rightAnd it will never happenNever!)

Aren’t jigsaw puzzles supposed to be a pleasant leisure time entertainment activity?