“Rows and flows of angel’s 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.” ~Joni Mitchell
The weather continues to be unpredictable, as weather will do. Beautiful clear skies this morning gave way to winds, and gathering clouds this afternoon. When I was a child, I loved to lie on my back and watch the clouds drift by. To see the castles, elephants, dragons drifting by, morphing from one thing into another. The stories they told me, the adventures we had, clouds and I.
Then as I grew up, the clouds became a nuisance. They rained and snowed and created traffic jams that messed with my schedule. I couldn’t see anything except the darkness, the rain, the canceled plans, and the world became a dreary place.
Then one day about 10 years ago, I looked up and saw the clouds, the columns of white puffy majesty. The sun shining on the tops and through the cracks, the three dimensional joy of them and the beauty was there once more. I don’t know why. I just know that something in me changed. The clouds were the same as they’ve always been, the way I looked at them and what I saw in them changed.
Like Joni Mitchell says, “I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.” I’ve also looked at them from multiple continents and I can tell you that the clouds that dampen my day at the beach in Kaikoura, NZ hold just as much intrigue and fascination for me as the clouds that weep over the skies in Osaka, Japan. Osaka was where I learned that you don’t have to let clouds or rain change your plans. You just buy a cheap umbrella from any vendor on the street or any corner store, and you carry on. Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) is just as tasty with the rain running down the side of the awning over the stall as it is on a sunny afternoon. Maybe even better as you savor the flavor and watch the collection of raindrops, the passerby’s with their clear umbrellas, laughing, talking and skipping over the largest of the puddles.
I have come to love clouds. Not for their shade, or cooler temperatures, or even the moisture they bring to parched soil but for their playful essence. I love clouds for the reminder of a younger me, who saw beauty and magic everywhere, and I love them for reminding me to look that way again.
“Something’s lost, but something’s gained, in living every day.” ~Joni Mitchell