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  • Betty Girardeau

The Magic Of Clouds


One of strongest memories about my first visit to Arizona was of the sky and the clouds. Our house in Virginia was nestled in four acres of woods and toward the bottom of a hill, so views of the sky were pretty limited. But in the desert area of Arizona where my son was then living, trees are a rarity and what trees there are don't get very tall. For the first time as an adult I saw the sky and clouds as something of rare beauty. Of course, like most children, when I was little I had played the game of recognizing animals in the clouds. As an adult living in heavy woods I had lost that sense of wonderment, a perfect example, perhaps, of "out of sight, out of mind." I may not live in "Big Sky Country" now, but I do live where most days there is a huge variety in sky views. With proximity to both mountains and lakes, it is a rare day when there aren't some rare views of the skies. In fact, there is a local saying that "if you don't like the weather, just wait forty-five minutes, and it will change". As my interest in photography has grown, so, too, has my appreciation of the stories and drama that the skies and clouds give us. Sunrises and sunsets are never as spectacular without the presence of at least some clouds on which the first or last light rays of the day can be bounced. Breaks in the clouds I think give us humans a sense of a presence in a larger universe. I recently discovered that there is actually a Cloud Appreciation Society. It was founded by a man in the UK named Gavin Preter-Pinney in 2005. It has over 50,000 members world wide as of March 2020. The year of its founding Yahoo! named the society's website "the most weird and wonderful find on the internet for 2005". After reading that I, of course, had to check it out. It is an amazing and fun website, and after quickly looking at a few of its pages I had a smile on my face. The goal of the society is so positive and life-affirming, something that seems too rare these days. Their Manifesto includes six positive points. I think the fifth is my favorite: "We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul. Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save money on psychoanalysis bills." I couldn't agree more.

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