A friend and I were talking about ‘when we were kids’. We found we had at least one interest in common: we both remembered lying on our backs in the grass watching clouds. Interestingly though, our thoughts and imaginations travelled along different paths.
My friend imagined himself IN the clouds, WITH the clouds, whizzing across the sky to imaginary destinations, or destinations he’d read about: the wilds of Alaska, the depths of a jungle, racing back in time to hunt and trap in the Rocky Mountains, slipping unseen alongside Robinson Crusoe and his Man Friday.
My cloud-gazing came from a different perspective. I wondered what was BEHIND the clouds. Was there heaven? Were there angels? Were there stars beyond the stars? Undiscovered worlds populated with beings beyond my imagination? I wondered how I could put myself there: Could I wish myself there? If I leapt high enough could I simply propel myself there? Was there some kind of machine or device that could blast me up right through those clouds into that vast space?
The interesting thing is, my friend remains a traveler in his heart. He’s travelled the world, visited and lived in remote regions far off the tourist trail. I, on the other hand, am always searching beyond the tangible, beyond the face we show to the world. I could people-watch for hours, building back stories for that old lady in the straw hat, that young man with the dreadlocks or that kid in the shabby board shorts.
There’s that saying about ‘having your head in the clouds’, meaning you don’t see what’s right in front of you. But is it better to see all the obstacles strewn across our day-to-day paths, or to gaze behind, at all the possibilities beyond the obstacles. Common sense tells me we need a mixture of both.
For my friend and I our cloud-watching mirrored some quality within our own natures. How do you watch clouds? I’d love to know.