My husband’s people live in a land of cloud watchers, a place in the middle of the country where there are big lakes and scarcely a hill, and all you can see as you drive down the highway is the cloud dappled sky that goes on and goes on. But most of my life I’ve lived on rippled lands where clouds are obscured by hills, mountains, and trees. I spent more time looking down or through than up.
I came to notice clouds gradually, in the way you come to notice the rooms in the house where you grew up, first unaware, taken for granted, and then completely, knowing every corner, hallway, doorframe, and creaking floorboard.
I first learned to love the low clouds we can see most mornings from the porch, the ones that cluster in the eastern sky like grazing sheep, just over the hill, making a fleecy lid for the chilly river. These are the clouds that sometimes forget their place, drifting down into the valley to perch lightly on the trees as fog.
Up early with the animals and my camera, I watched these clouds gather and roam, join and separate. I waited to see if the sun’s first rays would slide out below or above them. I started looking for the subtle moment when grey turns to pink turns to orange turns to white.
Now I find I can’t travel a road without checking out the sky, cataloging the shapes and colors: flat-bottomed cumulus and stratocumulus, tendriled cirrus like cotton candy strands pulled from a paper cone, speckled altocumulus pebbling half the sky, thick-flanneled stratus soaking the spring day, contrails drawn by transatlantic airlines making puffy Xs across the sky, menacing thunderclouds, thousands of feet tall, lashing a sultry summer afternoon with rain and lightning.
You could while away many an afternoon and never not see something new.
You could take a thousand photographs and no two would be the same.
You could clean the house, trim the goat hooves, fold the laundry, do the bills.
Or you could lie down along the earth’s grassy spine and watch the clouds float by.
These photos and post are in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.
This is my last photo in the series of 52. A new 52 Photos project is starting on Sunday, May 4. For more information, check out the 52 Photos Project blog.