“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,…”
William Wordsworth was actually writing about daffodils in his famous poem, but for this story I need go no further than the first two lines.
What a view a lonely cloud must have – of all the human ants going about their daily business, unaware of the wonderful beauty that “floats on high”. How many of us find time in our day, or even week, to look skyward – and just wonder?
Ten minutes is all it takes, but half an hour would take you further into the wonderland. You need no special equipment, no transport, and you can do it alone or in company. It really is one of the most relaxing and rewarding pastimes – a simple form of meditation, if you like.
A dear friend of mine, Jane, recently visited from interstate. We drove around the Bendigo district, and ended up perched on rocks at the top of Mt Alexander. While drinking in the surrounding scenery we chattered away, solving the problems of the world, and watched the progress of a hang-glider in the distance, working the thermals. It was a perfect winter afternoon, sunny and ‘warm’, with clouds passing by – possibly wondering what we were up to?
As the shadows grew longer – and yes, we were still chatting – Jane suddenly lay down on a huge flat rock, inviting me to do the same. Observed by a koala in a gum tree, and occasionally laughed at by a kookaburra, I did as I was told. And there above me was another world. A world of clouds – and peace.
In her busy life as a farmer in Tasmania, Jane regularly takes time out to lie on her back and lose herself in the clouds. She says it’s her “me” time and restores her energy. She has been known to get off her horse, while mustering cattle, to lie down and float away, or take a glass of wine into the garden on a summer evening and discover different shapes in the clouds. Motivated by her inner peace I have tried it a few times, not on a regular basis yet, but I’m working on it.
Now I’m no scientist, but even I know that a cloud is not a cloud, is not a cloud…and I certainly cannot tell my Altostratus from my Cumulonimbus clouds. But that does not stop me appreciating the delicacy of floating white fluffy pom-poms, the stunning beauty of a setting sun turning the sky to fire, or the power of thunder storms forming in a swirling, billowing maelstrom of cloud.
I am constantly fascinated when ascending on a plane through clouds, a little bumpy sometimes but once above them at a cruising altitude a whole new world emerges, one of light and a feeling of infinity. One is transported from a grey, sometimes wet place, to a blue playground with a white trampoline of cloud below.
Have you ever spent time with young children finding shapes in the passing clouds – rabbits, witches or anything your imagination can stretch to? When did you last smile at a gently pink sunrise or gaze in wonder at a fiery red sunset? Or just lie on a flat rock watching the wispy clouds float by, breathing deeply, forgetting all your worries for a while?
Why don’t you try it? It is an amazingly simple thing to do – and the benefit is simply amazing.