Why I Love the Sky
During the 2012 U.S. election season, candidate Mitt Romney gave a speech in Detroit in which he raved not only about how great the lakes in Michigan were, but that “the trees are just the right height.”
While this became great fodder for late night talks shows, I knew exactly what Mitt was talking about. And he was spot on.
Growing up in Michigan, I climbed those trees, which were “just the right height.” And when I fell, as any 10-year old boy with a daredevil attitude is apt to do, those trees at just the right height no doubt prevented me from breaking bones, or worse.
It was these exciting but painful mishaps that first introduced me to the view of the soft blue summer sky, filtered through the maze of branches and deep green leaves. I marveled at this view as I lay on my back gathering my wits.
Soon after, I realized I could enjoy this amazing vista of the sky without the trauma of falling out of a tree.
Since then, I have always understood and appreciated the benefits that exposure to the sky provides to my sense of well-being. Everyone loves the sky, don’t they? And everyone needs the sky.
This is why we go on picnics, take walks in the park, and camp in the woods. Why we want a window seat on the airplane. Why we know being cooped up indoors is unnatural and unhealthy.
Which brings me to the reason I’m here.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to work with the great nature photographer Joey Fischer. Joey created a new type of architectural accent by mounting his high quality photographic transparencies of the sky in ceiling fixtures installed above treatment tables in healthcare facilities.
Back then, the transparencies were backlit by fluorescent tube lighting in standard fixtures. While never creating an “illusion” of a skylight, Joey’s work was one of the first to use nature to create “healing environments” for patients in hospitals.
With the advancement of technology, coupled with application discipline based on evidence, it is now possible using specialized systems to create credible illusions of the sky. This exposure to the sky provides us with the benefits of a sense of space and time, and a connection with the outside world.
As a lover of nature, I consider access to the sky a type of freedom and daily nourishment. Therefore, it is my passion to create credible, effective illusions of the sky in healthcare and other stressful, windowless environments where actual access to the sky is unavailable.
This is why I create illusions with SkyCeilings, and Luminous Virtual Windows. It’s why I advocate for Biophilic Engagement in the built environment. Why I’m writing this blog.
And, it’s why I am going out to sit under a tree right now.
“Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” – Jimmy Hendrix