I once read that every page of every book has a cloud in it. It’s true. Each tree that has been made into a book was watered by the clouds. Few of us know where clouds come from, or what they need to form beyond the simplest of explanations, yet many of us feel as Emily Dickinson when she penned this line: “I have never spoken with God nor visited heaven, yet certain am I of the spot, as if the chart were given.”
We all know that to look up is to touch the grandeur of God’s finger trailing the sky. Yet most of us miss not only His hand-writing on the wall, but also His penmanship across the sky, especially at night.
In the evenings when my sons were young, we would on occasion, make a quick stop at Dairy Queen, and then we were off to The Sands in Port Royal. We would toss a few shells in the water and then charge down the first stretch of boardwalk. But the further we moved from the lights that denoted human time, to the infinity of starlight,
Ripples of moonlight or a sudden splash caught and held our attention. At the apex of the concrete conduit stands a five story tower. Giggles and the reading of the leavings of the more bold of the graffiti artists slowed us as we ran the spiral stairs of the tower—till we reached the top. There we spread out, and gazed and guessed at
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society as well as the co-founder of The Idler magazine is touted in his bio as a “long time advocate of the joy of time ill spent.” Gavin notes that while the English language generally leans towards clouds as a metaphor for gloom and doom, he is more a believer in the words of Greek playwright Aristophanes, “clouds are the patron goddesses of
Gavin feels, that as “adults we are reluctant to allow ourselves the indulgence of allowing our imagination to drift along with the clouds.” I have to agree. We often take a moment, even if it’s a glance out of a car window, to catch a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, but the open sky and time necessary to watch as clouds pass by, shaping and reshaping into our heart’s desire, is rarely realized.
With over half a century of life logged in, I have only a few distinct memories of time spent watching clouds go by. The business of life gets in the way of this simple extravagance. Barbara Holland in her book, Endangered Pleasures, In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences, tells us that, “Gloom we shall always have with us, a rank and sturdy weed, but joy requires tending.”
So tend to your joy, and do a little cloud watching this week…while you may. “Life is suspended between two eternities—the time to use it is today,” Randall Guywehr.