Monday, July 14, 2014


A great ship of the sky, white-prowed and silent, serenely sails across the great blue ocean of air, on its way towards high summer.

I think many of us have found imagery in clouds. On warm summer days, especially, I find myself glancing skyward, watching as great fleecy mountain ranges and mysterious island fortresses glide and morph through the blue expanse above.

As a child, I recall many a lazy summer day spent lying in the grass, seeing great billowy armies clash without sound, or dinosaurs evolving into solemn Zeus-like heads pondering the patchwork green below. They were hypnotic to me, the way they would come together and fly apart without a sound, like some great silent show being played out for those who would look up. They seemed remote yet somehow friendly, enjoying the summer along with me.

Then there were days when the gray thunderheads would roll in, sparking actinic light. Crawling fingers of lightning running on the undersides of the clouds, or jutting down in sudden flashes, would reveal for a moment the roiling, angry masses gathering their wrath. Rarest of all were the green clouds, their color unsettling and threatening; when they rumbled in from the West - always the West - even the trees seemed to shiver as the air grew cold with the advance of the primal violence that was about to be unleashed.

As the year began to wane, I would see more and more of the somber gray clouds of autumn roll in. Here in Ohio, much of the autumn and winter sees the sky become an unbroken blanket of gray that persists for what seems like months at a time. Or, it seemed that way to my younger self. Yet I never felt gloomy because of the cloud cover; it always felt like Halloween, and Halloween was always my favorite holiday.

I hadn't meant to write about clouds today. When I sat down to write, they were what first came to mind. Perhaps they did so because they remind me so much of the constant mutability of life, with the way it is always steadily changing into something else. All is ephemeral, destined to be something else before much time has passed. That is why I don't write here about politics or some of the other ever-changing elements that make up our society. Certainly, I have strong opinions about any and all of it...but in the end, I'd rather spend my time here pondering the eternal, rather than hashing out or arguing over something that will inevitably change into something completely different before too long. Deep down, I suppose I'm incurably optimistic; I believe we - humans as a species - will muddle through all our troubles eventually. The cloud cover will always break apart in time, the thunderclouds will pass over and disappear after their fury is spent, and the bright clouds of summer will return to reflect our dreams back to us.

It figures that after Midnight I ponder so much about bright, sunny, cloud-spangled skies.

1 comment:

  1. Good post, Jeff! I've noticed that the last few days have really been excellent for clouds. It's been a long time since I've just laid back and watched the clouds. I'm going to make a point of doing it soon. Somehow I believe it will be good for the soul.