The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about the
Sky & Clouds in Arizona

Under clouds and oppressive heat the sky often glows with carmines, chrome-yellows, magentas, pinks, grays, and browns and at times these are reflected on the desert floor till it becomes a symphony of color. ~Arizona: A State Guide, compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Arizona, 1940

And me — I was glowing as brightly as the warm Arizona evening. Pink clouds were striped across the twilight sky. It was country to fall in love with. ~David Gerrold, The Martian Child, 2002

What ideal, immutable Platonic cloud could equal the beauty and perfection of any ordinary everyday cloud floating over, say, Tuba City, Arizona, on a hot day in June? ~Edward Abbey, Vox Clamantis in Deserto, 1989

Apart in my rock-hewn pathway, where the great cliffs shut me in,
The storm-swept clouds were my brethren, and the stars were my kind and kin.
~Sharlot Mabridth Hall (1870–1943), "The Song of the Colorado," Cactus and Pine: Songs of the Southwest, 1910

      The great epics of man and his love of the sublime in nature involve the sky, the sea, the desert and the mountains. They are the great soul stirrers. If you imagine the heavens to be an inverted sea of blue, a measure of each soul stirrer is in every Arizona skyscape, whether the mood is fair or stormy, by day or by night, the celestial kaleidoscope above you shifts perpetually into an infinite spectacle of never repeated masterpieces. Immensity, space and magnitude create a peculiar beauty not found anywhere else on this planet...
      There are no rehearsals for Nature's celestial tableau. Whether it be one golden sunshaft shot through the cloud canyons, the gentle kiss of dawn's first light, the passionate crescendo of an October sunset, or the requited beauty of a rainbow after the storm, one thing is sure as heaven itself — no computer yet designed can see, register and express the color, mood and beauty of even one square inch of this vast enchanted land. Only man has this God given gift. ~Jose Izuela, "The Soul Stirring Skies of Arizona," Arizona Highways, April 1971,

Just after sunset everything has a pinky purple tone and the light is soft and perfect... ~Jane Zarzynski, photographer, quoted in The Arizona Republic, 2016

Bonfires of the evening sun
Merge in final unquenched glory
From horizon up to heaven,
While grotesque saguaro fingers
Paint lofty silhouettes against the sky.
~Helen Castle, "Saguaro at Sunset," in Arizona Highways, March 1973

The skies and clouds of Arizona are the two great elements which set this land apart from any other part of the world... There is nothing unique or remarkable about the clouds in the skyscapes of our Southwest. They are the same clouds that come and go to and from other places, except light, color background and the arrangement of earthbound elements. The compositions vary from hour to hour, day to day, season to season depending on the temper of the sun, the position of the clouds and the pattern and formations of the landscape. ~Jose Izuela, "The Soul Stirring Skies of Arizona," Arizona Highways, April 1971

Sunsets remain as synonymous with Arizona as saguaros, snowbirds and the Grand Canyon. ~Mark Nothaft, "Why are Arizona sunsets so dramatic?,", 2016

Indigo and amethyst,
Morning glory blue,
Saffron, mauve, vermillion,
Combine to make the hue
Of sunset on the desert
Where knolls barely intrude
Between the earth and sky's
Crimson interlude.
~Christine Lund Coles, "Desert Sunset," 1950s

A broken reef of purple clouds appeared beaten upon by contending tides of silver and rose. Through a ragged rent the sinking sun sent shafts of radiant light down behind the horizon. In the east the panorama was no less striking and beautiful. The desert sent its walls and domes and monuments of red rock far up into the sky of gorgeous pink and white clouds. ~Zane Grey, The Water Hole, 1927

It was now morning, and, with the customary lack of dawn which is a startling characteristic of Arizona, it had become daylight almost without warning. ~Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars, 1917

the seam between desert and night
glows pastel to neon to clear blue light
~Terri Guillemets, "Phoenix sunrise," 1996

Sunset fell... The red and golden rays of sunlight swept down over it, spreading light over the desert. ~Zane Grey, The Water Hole, 1927

In that hushed and breathless moment when day is almost done, and the trees of the forest are filled with mysterious colors that have no name, clouds descend the stairway of the sky to mingle with the mountain peaks. From the copper canyons of the west they steal the glowing embers of the dying sun, and scatter them in blazing climax to light camp fires in the sky. ~John Martin Scott, "Vagabonds of the Sky… The Aquarians," Arizona Highways, August 1972,

sand-dust with cream
intensely mauve'd rust
velvety blue-grey-indigo
layers of early winter's
desert dawn horizon
~Terri Guillemets, "Muted striations," 2019

But why are sunsets so dramatic in our neck of the woods? There's a few reasons, meteorologist Paul Iniguez of the National Weather Service of Phoenix says. “One of the [factors] that would go toward our sunsets is the dryness,” he says, citing that moisture diffuses light and makes the sky “milky” when there's moisture in the atmosphere... “It scatters the light.” Plus, Arizona has high-level storm systems with clouds at 20,000 to 30,000 feet, he says, “and we experience bright orange and red iridescence looking through the atmosphere at shallower angles later in the day and at sunrise.” ~Mark Nothaft, "Why are Arizona sunsets so dramatic?,", 2016  [I lived in Tucson in 1991 after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, and the sunsets were even more spectacular than usual. We were told it was due to the volcanic ash settling back down to earth. —tg]

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Original post date 2016 Apr 25
Last saved 2021 Jul 03 Sat 12:43 PDT