Although I haven’t done much creative or personal writing recently, I do have a collection of things I’ve done for English this passing year that I have no need for.
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay like a load on my weary eye
(ll.250-251) The Rime of Ancient Mariner, Part IV
The repetition of the “sky and the sea” emphasized the wide scope of the visible world to the Mariner, which resonated strongly with me. It particularly reminded me of travelling, and exiting the airport and taking the first few steps into a different country. The sky in every city is different. In Burnaby, it is often grey and wet, and if you stand in a wide open space, all you see is varying types of grey upon grey upon grey, with the occasional crow streaking across your vision. At night, if you stand in a parking lot on a clear summer evening and tilt your head up to face the sky, the stars are visible. The small twinkling dots are submerged in the deep blues and purples, and with the relatively insignificant light pollution, many constellations are observable. In San Francisco, the sky is bright. Everything, from the fancy offices to the individual houses on the rolling hills, is bright and solid-coloured, and the evenings are an intense orange that dips into violet.
However, in Shanghai, the sky is usually grey, but a different kind. It’s a dark grey that is uniform in constancy, as well as opaque, obstructing all signs of life from your vision. When the smog clears up, the vibrant cerulean of the sky is revealed. The only clouds are an intermediate to the puffy cumulonimbus of where I live and the thin patterns of San Francisco. In contrast, at night, the only perceptible lights are the neon signs of the shopping districts and flashy restaurants. Only artificial light prevails in the perpetually awake city of Shanghai.
Regardless of where I am, when I look up at the sky, I often feel quite insignificant. The problems I face and troubles I have are caused by the societal structure and one tiny person’s indecisive nature. What do the stars care about you? What does the Moon see of the Earth? From my point of view, everything above me is infinitely large and unreachable — just as my future seems. In the way that I am, the experiences behind me cannot yet define me as a person. Through what I am doing in the present and the accumulation of all my mistakes and successes, I can then build a ‘sense of self’—or a rough sketch of who I might become in the future.
The world is a big place, and the seemingly infinite expanse of the known world will one day be ours to conquer; but for now, the space from “the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky” is enough for me.