Last week, during a flight to Munich, and equally this week during my return journey to London, I witnessed some spectacular cumulus scenes from above, with the moist earth being the canvas.
The changing cloudscapes drifting on the wind teased my imagination. I wanted to wander into this world that words can scarce describe, be there alone with my own heartbeat, where past and future is one and present. I’m no Percy Bysshe Shelley, who gave an eloquent voice to The Cloud
… I am the daughter of Earth and Water, And the nursling of the Sky …
His cloud speaks of the ‘pilot.’
… This pilot is guiding me, Lured by the love of the genii that move In the depth of the purple sea …
Shelley’s time had no flying machines that did away with the invisible navigator. He perceived through the inner eye.
The first Cloud Atlas was documented in 1896.
Today’s airline pilots must know their clouds
Like us, clouds change but keep on living. We and they are fleeting manifestations of nature – a show of impermanence ornamenting this planet. The water of oceans, lakes and rivers, the sap of life, flowing through the perspiration of plants and all living organisms, including the breath of 7 Billion people, clings and seeps into the warm earth only to be drawn up again, where its vapour compacts in cold air and spirals into fluid shapes between us and the blue dome, where all moods find expression – wild charcoal formations with dove grey wisps parading at the horizon, luminous coloured tendrils and satin sheets in slanting sunlight at dawn and dusk, or dewy porcelain veils.
Clouds are moisture made visible. Who knows what information is inscribed and carried in droplets from one place to another? It takes about one million cloud droplets to form one raindrop.
What rises also falls. There is a wonderful Sufi story about this cycle of transformation, serving as a metaphor for identity, the form we must inevitably relinquish to change into another form while maintaining our essence … here told by Terence Stamp: The Tale of the Sands
There is ongoing research of water as an agent – receiving impressions and holding patterns of information. Water can be vitalised, for example, which explains things we know the results of but not the reason. Such findings, while presently called pseudo-science, may yet confirm many of our intuitions. Water is alive, and living things form a centre and have intelligence.