Monday, September 28, 2009

writing in the sky...

For the last week, I have been reading Pirsig’s thoughts rather intently. I’ve a ways to go and intend to discuss it at length in due time, but here, from this altitude, I can’t help but feel it is time for my own. He was right–windows have a way of framing the world, like looking into some moving photograph. I am a spectator, not a participant at this altitude, from this seat.

When the plane is surrounded entirely by cloud, you always feel like it’s turning, spiraling, or diving for the ground. Without the earth below, there is no sense of orientation; I get why pilots lose their bearing and disappear all together. The plane finally clears the cloud, like a break high in an alpine canyon wall, to reveal the valley below: fields and river beds, crevasses made of cloud like cotton stuffing stretched thin. Large nimbus puffs look like the great rust hued rock monuments of the American west. We still cannot see the ground below but this is a world unto itself.

I wonder what the clouds are telling us and wish I paid better attention in Earth science. I imagine the ground below and what the weather is like there. Above this cottony bed is a high mass of definition-less white and gray–no real shape to speak of but certainly the same type of cloud that bounced us around earlier. Above that, higher still are the thin wisps of cirrus, I believe. My memory tells me those clouds are ice, drifting through atmosphere reserved for spy planes, astronauts or something divine.

I’m presently disappointed by my inability to predict the ground weather, to read the clouds I have such a fortunate view of. I’ve lived my whole life watching them, often cursing their offerings, assigning personality and shape to them. Why this sudden interest in their meaning?

Perhaps I am tired of rain. All these clouds certainly mean moisture and Nashville has looked more like Seattle this month; I am quite tired of it. But maybe it is something else entirely. Fall is close and I can feel it coming. Every year I wait for it. I long for it. I have even prayed for it. Something happens as the trees prepare and begin their seasonal death like magic; I come alive. Summer heat sits heavy on me, less so this year on account of an insanely joyful summer, but by September, my heart and spirit grow heavy and ache for fall breezes, long nights on the porch and mountain air. It comes every year and I need it.

If I knew more about the clouds, perhaps I could see the weather ahead, read Fall’s fortune for a glimpse of hope that it is waiting for me on the ground below. I love Tennessee in the Fall.

But deeper still, my heart is wondering what’s ahead, looking for signs of the next season. Perhaps God sits over the weather, raising and stirring the clouds to write directions in the sky. Through this window, it’s hard to tell what is a picture and what is experience but I can’t help but look anyway.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Thanks Whit - now it's time for me to sit on my porch for a bit - look at the changing/falling leaves - breathe in the crisp air - watch the ducks and geese fly by and count my blessings!!