I can remember exactly where I was when I heard someone say “I hope your day is filled without just enough clouds to make the sunset amazing...” Or something like that. I never remember stuff exactly the way it is said. And that statement struck me because before he said it, I had never thought that it was the presence of clouds that made the fading sun so spectacular, providing a canvas of tiny water particles upon which the sun could refract and reflect.
It never occurred to me that clouds were part of a beautiful sunrise or sunset.
Why had I never considered this before?
Self absorption...most likely.
However ever since that random man from Tinder said that in a text (this was many years ago), I have been grateful for clouds. I notice them, I photograph them and appreciate them in ways I never thought possible before...
And this last week the clouds have been exceptionally stunning. Van Gogh like in moments and God like in others. It has been a spectacular week for clouds.
And I have come to love clouds with a kind of passion that should be reserved for something human or at the very least, pet-able.
I love the way they refract light. I feel that I am especially sensitive to light. The quality and nature of it. Its nuances are never lost on me. I can walk into a room and immediately tell you that the light is too stark, too dim, too yellow, too white. I have an odd relationship with light. My offices NEVER have overhead lighting on. Hell, my home doesn’t even have overhead-lighting installed. I purchased ceiling fans, intentionally, without light fixtures attached to them. So I am somewhat nuanced, sensitive when it comes to all things light.
When I wake in the morning, I need it completely dark, otherwise I am irritated. I have learned to master making coffee in the complete blackness so that I may not disturb whatever resides inside of me that needs the light to be managed and controlled.
But since I was like 45 when I learned how much clouds play a role in the appearance of light, I feel like I have a bit of catching up to do...
While I still marvel and appreciate a cloudless sky, I have to come to love with a ferocity usually reserved for chocolate or cats, clouds.
What I am presently loving is their presence ushers in an alteration of the environment, hiding some things while making many other things clearer, hyper focused. Yesterday on my morning walk with the dog, the clouds were just brilliant. Their presence in the sky, made everything crisp and crystalline. It was just an amazing morning with clouds.
This past week there was a rare phenomenon of cloud formation over my town. Undulates Aperatus clouds formed over the region and dazzled everyone who was privileged enough to witness such a rare event. Facebook was lit up with the strange formation and for a moment, we all were enchanted with clouds.
To me they are lovely in what they mask, equal to what they reveal. They help me understand the sun never leaves, but is often covered over and opaqued, leaving us wondering when we will ever see her again.
And because life is inherently unpredictable, just like that clouds shapeshift into something else and leave us to marvel and wonder at their brief appearance. My favorite are the large billowy clouds that augment the sky with their majestic largess, causing the relief between blue sky and white cotton to filter the light in such a way that it allows me to believe there is a purpose to all this lifey stuff and that, I am actually a part of it.
So I have come to love the cloudy day because I know the sun will shine again. If I have too many cloudy days in a row, I begin to feel drained and depressed, it would appear that I cannot be shut off from the solar source for too long, lest I suffer emotionally.
But I am learning to love the quiet, stillness clouds provide. I love that sometimes they are a backdrop to a peaceful, idle day. And other times they are the cause for wonder, amazement and the most amazing beginnings and endings of each day.
And it makes me feel that I am on the right path, if the indomitable Joni Mitchell has allowed us to peer into the brilliance of her mind, and see that she too has a fine appreciation for clouds...
“Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way”
I have looked at clouds from both sides...and while sometimes they get in my way, they more often brighten up my life, sometimes by granting me vision to see light that radiates throughout my being, and other times, muting life and me and all my franticness, allowing me to find peaceful shelter beneath their undulating waves.
So while I do not understand clouds or their illusions, I do know that I have come to love them in a very special way...and my life is made more whole and complete because I have a life where their appearance, or not, changes the way I am in the world each day.