In her book, For the Time Being, Annie Dillard writes keen observations about anthropology, religion, culture, death…and clouds.
She quotes written observations of clouds from centuries ago. It seems that always, humans have looked up from their lives in wonder, trying to make sense of the shifting vapor, what it might mean for the present, for the future, how it all got there in the first place, and how it can be ever-new and unpredictable.
The unique atmosphere surrounding beloved Earth supports everything we know as Life. How much do we really know about it?
“I really don’t know Clouds at all.” — Joni Mitchell
“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.” — Anne Frank
“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” — Thich Nhat Hahn
“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“One can enjoy a rainbow without necessarily forgetting the forces that made it.” — Mark Twain
I can think of no better icon of mystery than the sky. The heavens in “Big Sky Country”, the American West, give plenty of fodder for pondering mysteries of all magnitudes, from “Do you think it’s going to rain?” to “Are there other life forms on those twinkly planets?” I wish that I had the proper equipment to photograph the night sky in New Mexico. The number of stars visible to the naked eye is astounding. We had a new moon night with a view of the Milky Way that was indeed mystical. It put my own life into a different perspective. Here’s a gallery of some mysterious skies: