This morning the whole sky was a thick, low layer of cloud unrolled over the city and the steppe beyond, but there was one small circle in the skies off to my left where the cloud thinned and the sun above it could stream through. It was like a distant rain shower in reverse--instead of a dark vertical smear, there was a column of pale light falling through the lit up, ragged edges of cloud.
The hole shrank as I watched until there was just one fine, straight thread of light between the roofs and the gray cloud--and then it closed. This sky, this sky.
And now the clouds have evaporated completely and the day is beautiful. Kazakhs are canoodling on park benches; I get the impression that this may be the last warm day of the year. Big magpies are hopping madly in the newly-turned ground. I never noticed that magpies are black and white and navy, but today in the sun I saw the blue strips across their backs.
Below me I can see that the water is moving, but out to the west, past the edge of the city, the river looks like breaks in a painting, places where someone has rubbed pigment away to let something bright underneath shine through.