In my head I know that clouds are nothing more than water in the sky. Schooling and education tend to knock the romantic out of you like that. But try as my teachers would, there was a little girl – a little romantic – who could never be knocked out of me. My mind and my heart don’t have to be on the same page all the time, and, honestly, they normally aren’t. And I like it that way.
One thing about sitting in the car for 12 hours is that it gives plenty of time for endeavours such as cloud-gazing. I particularly like what I call fairytale clouds. Those are the big fluffy ones with flat bottoms and big puffy tops, just like In the storybooks! But then there are the jagged, geometric ones – they look like someone took a pen full of cloud and constructed them. Then there are the sweeping, immense ones that dominate vast majorities of the sky and act as anchors. Little clouds spread their wings and float off the anchor cloud, and tired, heavy clouds return to rest.
Clouds are a happy place.
But the best thing about clouds is that they are forever changing. I sit in the car and label them – a cat pouncing… a seal… a duck smoking a pipe… a hand full of cauliflower… But I look up two minutes later and everything has changed. Now my kitten looks more like a clam talking to a Smurf.
The sky gets to be creative. Everything changes, but everything remains. The splendour of the sky is never-ending but it’s never constant. One day the sky will be brilliant azure, and the next, it will be heavy grey. It’s like the clouds are playing a great big game of hide and seek, and when they’re tired, they come out to play charades.
Clouds are like life. No really! Hear me out on this one…
We’re forever moving, forever shifting and changing. We chase something on the horizon only to realise that the horizon is as fickle as we are. So we choose to be stationary. We sit in our situation trying our hardest not to change, and we find ourselves compromising into something else, being pushed on by others, or simply falling to pieces. If clouds are inconsistent then my life can definitely empathise!
I remember hearing once that the only constant in life is change. I hate that saying! Why must everything change? After all, change is hard. Girls know how hard it is to change outfits. Anyone who’s moved will tell you how hard it is to change your address. Changing lightbulbs – as humorous as the thought may have become – is even becoming complicated. (How many bumbling bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?) Why must change be the only thing we can rely on to never change?
But then I think about those clouds. Can you imagine what would happen if they never moved? How could regular life continue if the water cycle decided it was over change and it would rather stagnate? No more evaporation. No more rain. No more snow. No more mist or dew or hail or cloud cover. Quite simply, we could not survive. Change is what preserves. Change creates growth and development. Change is what keeps everything from falling apart.
None of this means I like change. Mostly, it means I got rather philosophical when I looked at the sky one day. But perhaps through the practice of putting whimsies into words, I have managed to contain the thought that change is beautiful and maybe help me one day when the change in life seems like just a bit too much to handle.
And maybe next time you look at the sky, instead of seeing cumuli nimbus, you’ll see an acrobat about to do a backflip off a saxophone… Or at least something equally outlandish.