Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Space in Between, Part XIII: Clouds

We went to Disneyland when I was a kid. Characters of all kinds had human legs, and flying carpet rides involved neither carpets nor flying. It was certainly fun, but not really magical.

But the flight to California? That was magical. Dad guided us all confidently through an airport with lots of lights, a bazillion corridors, and more people than I'd probably seen before in my life. Forever later, we turned into another "corridor" -- which I began to realize was actually the inside of an airplane -- and found our seats. Much settling and many words later, that big people-filled tube began to move, and a few minutes later we were flying. We were flying!

View from plane, 2012
I spend more time these days in airplanes and airports, and it does not hold quite the fascination it did that first time, but there is still something magical about it. I still love ascending, especially when we reach the altitude of the cloud-bottoms and it looks like they have been poured out flat onto a massive glass canopy in the sky. I love the way light interacts with the water to form white rays and diffuse colors. I love the wispy streaks and the fluffy-looking cotton and everything in between, and I especially love seeing the different patterns forming in the sky.

The clouds captured me while driving to Oregon a couple of days ago. I watched as they formed and re-formed, creating patterns at once familiar and new. I spent several quiet hours driving and pondering the clouds. What is there that captures my heart?

Clouds are a sign of an often-unseen reality, of forces invisible yet powerful, life-changing, life-sustaining. They form at the borders of air masses, and they themselves become border places. Clouds symbolize those times in life when opposing forces meet. They are metaphors of boundary points. They are reminders of moments when a veil is lifted and previously-unseen factors become visible.

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