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The sky puts on a show

The celestial extravaganza began simply enough.

I was already past Hutchinson on the last Saturday of the Kansas State Fair, heading west to the family farm, when I saw the first white, puffy clouds forming in the pristine azure skies. No two were alike, and I marveled at their distinctions.

Countless generations of children have looked up at such clouds and said “That looks like….” But how many adults take a moment from their busy days to do the same thing? Not enough, I dare say.

Off to the left, one cloud shot up higher than the rest, as if it were an eager student in a classroom raising its hand in an attempt to catch the teacher’s attention. “Pick me! Pick me!”

Off in the distance, I saw a deep blue shaft stretching from a dark gray cloud to the ground. I recognized it was a rain shaft. Some portion of Stafford County was receiving a welcome, late-summer shower.

To the north, beams of sunlight pushed through breaks in the gathered clouds. I thought of all the stories and paintings that depicted God shining His love and favor on humanity as a ray of light from the heavens. And no wonder: There’s something undeniably majestic and moving about it.

A short time later, I looked back south for the rain shaft. Not only had it stopped raining, the clouds had disappeared as well. It was a classic “popcorn thunderstorm” – fire up in the muggy afternoon heat, produce a brief, intense shower, and then collapse.

It all happened within the span of 90 minutes.

In As You Like It, Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage.”

In Kansas, we’re often reminded the sky can be, too.