I said I’d think aloud about some of the environments or backdrops that helped me compose poetry and appeared frequently in my poems. First was the sea and the shore. Now for the sky.
Often, especially when I’m alone and especially when I’m on a small island or other remote place, I look up at the sky and find fascination in its moods. There are practical reasons for this, of course, which mattered far more to my distant ancestors than they do to me, and more to me than to most people in rich, urbanised countries. The sky predicts the weather. You can see rain coming, distant mist, a hint maybe of snow, or blue sky approaching despite the rain in your face. We are warned of sunrise and sunset. Trees and clothing may give you some idea of the wind speed, but scudding clouds give a clearer message.
Even at night, the presence of clouds is instantly evident from the absence of stars.
As a hill-walker and a birdwatcher, I make use of these signs. But my reasons for staring at the sky are more powerful