Where Do Clouds Go?
Where do clouds go when they sail across the sky like cotton-candy castles underneath the deep blue canopy of the endless summer sky? I see them floating northward – un-piloted airships drifting softly, traveling the eddies and currents in the ocean translucent that is the sky. I don’t know where they came from or to where they are going, but their beauty captivates me and holds me tight and motionless as I lie on the soft summer grass in the warm summer sun.
It must be cold way up there – high up where those cottony clouds sail – I think, as I watch a cloud that looks too much like a horse for me to ignore it. A rider-less horse, galloping beneath a cobalt sky, moving quickly away from me in that deep cold that lives in such high places. I watch her floating away, seizing the moment, seizing the day. I can’t help wondering where she is going or where she came from or where here journey may end, but just as I think that, she moves further away, she looks like a mighty tall ship, brilliant white sails unfurled, gliding effortlessly on the azure sea. I can almost here the canvas slapping the masts.
A cloud, and a horse and a mighty tall ship all – and me – all going somewhere and not one of us knows where.
Clouds are ethereal creatures; they fire my imagination, and summon up memories buried deep within me and make me think grand and innocent thoughts. Clouds make me take a break from myself and the world which binds me and they set me free from the dark and the morbid and the unclean and the unbearable.
Clouds on a summer day…I wonder if they are watching me watching them?
The horse and the ship are long gone to who knows where -long out of sight. I look up and all I see are white cotton balls tinged with a little gray – they must be getting old and gray, I muse and I smile at that thought. Heaven knows I’m growing old – I bet clouds do too. I wonder how old the clouds above me right now are? Maybe their newborn nascent wonderers just starting their journey – but why the gray around the edges? Maybe clouds are not like people at all or maybe they are a whole lot like people.
Clouds are born upon the great blue plains of the sky and I imagine they die there too, evaporating into nothingness over dry deserts that suck the life from them. I don’t like to think of that. I’m not quite sure why, but I’m guessing it is because it makes me think about my own mortality, not that I don’t think about that quite often these days.
I don’t like to think about cemetery plots, or funeral homes, or cremation or wills. Those things are the stuff of melancholy which always causes me to spiral down into a dark place. I’m like an ostrich I guess. I’m more like an ostrich than a cloud. Not that that’s what I want to be.
I’d rather be a cloud. Floating over everything, looking down on cities, villages, towns, deserts, oceans – floating over birth and death, good and evil, happiness and sadness, mercy and cruelty, compassion and coldness – above it all and not a part of any of it, just a cotton-candy castle and just as oblivious to the pain and suffering as I am to the love and happiness. I wonder how free i would feel seeing it all but not being a part of anything, like the clouds floating over my head right now. Would I miss the joy and love in life. Would I miss the ubiquitous struggle between right and wrong, dark and light, good and evil, all those human things, all pulling me in different directions and haunting me even in my sleep?
I think I see the face of God, benevolent and kind; he’s in the cloud just now passing above me. I blink my eyes and it’s not God at all, but a winged dragon rearing back his mighty head – his gray eyes poking through the white clouds and glowering done – is he looking at me – or is he?
Even the dragon is being swallowed up by a thick gray army of cloud now marching across the sky. I watch as the beautiful, ,white, cottony clouds are swallowed by a deep gray sea of rain clouds. I look up and see that the sweet canopy of blue has gone gray. The air is still and there is no sound. There are no dragons, no horses, no sailing ships, no faces of God, just a slate-rock gray sky – all the clouds have joined together like a mass of cancer cells growing wildly out of control.
I feel a drop of rain and I hurry and get up off the grass and go back into the house. I go back into the world from which I had taken a much needed break. The rain is pounding on shutters and the roof and the windows and I can’t decide whether I hear a sweet symphony or an unnerving cacophony.
I feel old and I feel weary, but I am grateful for the few special moments I spent today, watching the clouds float away in a brilliant and beautiful blue summer sky. I realize that I am just like the clouds sometimes – I don’t know where I came from and I sure don’t know where I’m going.
I’m back in life’s tug of war again – good and bad, right and wrong, happy and sad, old and young, sick and healthy – I feel sometimes I am being pulled apart.
I am tried and I sit in my old man’s chairs, the dirty chair with the food stains and worn from a thousand naps, and as I’m falling asleep, I wonder… where do clouds go?