Oklahoma’s Endless Skyway - 405 Magazine

Oklahoma’s Endless Skyway

Placid to threatening but never-ending and nearly always beautiful – M.J. Alexander offers a photographic tribute to the ever-changing Oklahoma sky.


How long has it taken me to find you?
Five hundred years, five hundred thousand miles
It don’t matter now, love’s always on time
Meet me underneath the Oklahoma sky …

–  Miranda Lambert, Oklahoma Sky

In Oklahoma, the sky is our ocean.

Its mood may be placid for day upon day, then in an hour’s time awaken to morph from cloudless cobalt to a roiling sea of copper, from inscrutable pewter minimalism to monstrous iron thunderheads, pregnant with rain and strobing with the lightning within.

It calls pilots and astronauts such as Wiley Post and Gordon Cooper and James Stafford and Shannon Lucid to explore its mysteries. Beckons storm chasers from around the globe to witness its ferocity. Inspires artists and songwriters, as well the nomenclature of the state’s largest city – after all, OKC is home to the Skydance Bridge, Stonecloud Brewing, Painted Sky Opera and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Every morning, Oklahomans wake and look up as one to scan its expanse. Dozens or hundreds or thousands of times each day, our upturned eyes glance again and again, in a collective tic born of self-preservation and fed by curiosity.

We watch for storms, it is true. But also to witness the cinematic cloudscapes and wind currents and gradations in color; for the ebb and flow of a molten dawn and inky dusk; and for stars that emerge as the sun fades and the tide of darkness rises.

In Oklahoma, the sky is our ocean.


Winter corral, Osage County


There’s a bright, golden haze on the meadow
There’s a bright, golden haze on the meadow.
The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye
And it looks like it’s climbing clear up to the sky.

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”



Rain, Cimarron County


But the sun in California
Don’t shine one half as bright
As the one in Oklahoma,
So I’m startin’ back tonight.

— Merl Lindsay
Lonesome Okie Goin’ Home



Sunflowers, Ellis County


I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free,
and there was nothing to break the light of the sun.
I was born where there were not enclosures and everything drew a free breath …
I want to die there and not within walls.

— Para-Wa-Samen (Ten Bears), of the Tamparika Comanches


Farmhouse’s final summer, Kiowa County


Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

— Dr. Brewster Higley, Shawnee


Red earth, white windmill, blue sky, Dewey County

I’m in a world so wide
It makes me feel small sometimes
I miss the big, blue skies
The Oklahoma kind.

— Carrie Underwood 
I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore