Does anyone remember the song ‘Both sides now’ by Joni Mitchell? A popular song from the late 60s, early 70s also sung by Judy Collins, the lyrics start like this:-
‘Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way’
I mention it from the point of view of ‘looking at clouds’. When was the last time you looked at clouds? No, I don’t mean when was the last time you saw a cloud. I mean when did you last stop to seriously look at clouds? Perhaps you do not have the time anymore. But I am sure we all did it as youngsters. Remember the school summer holidays, week after week of seemingly endless wall to wall sunshine, halcyon days spent playing outside. Where ever you were, city or countryside, park or beach there was always a moment when the playing stopped and you simply lay on your back to look up at the sky. Sometimes it was just the deepest blue imaginable with not a cloud in sight. Other times there were clouds and you just lay there watching them floating across the sky. Large clouds, small clouds, fluffy clouds, fine laced clouds, dense thick clouds, all moving; sometimes ponderously or scudding along at speed. You gazed at their forms, seeing and imagining all manner of things up there in the sky as these shapes morphed from one guise to another, all silhouetted against a blue background.
Well, I will make no secret of the fact. I did just that the other day whilst walking in the Lake District. Took a rest on the side of a Fell and stretched out on the rough grass, hands behind head, and simply looked up into the great blue yonder. Truly wonderful. No wonder Wordsworth was able to write “I wandered lonely as a cloud”.
I know we all lead busy, hectic and sometimes stressful lives but once in a while it’s the simplest of pleasures that can be the most rewarding, especially if it is something you have not done for a while. You may be a lot older and even wiser than the last time you did it or indeed world weary, but as the song continues:-
‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all’
Enjoy your summer, say ‘Hi’ to a cloud or two!