I’m lucky to live in a place where I can see a lot of sky. I don’t think I’d like to live somewhere where I could only catch glimpses of it.
I notice the sky. A lot. I notice it when I open the shutters in the morning. This morning there was a pinkish orange/peachy glow from the rising sun. Now the sky is blue again. I find I only need to gaze up for a few moments and I see something which catches my attention – a high trail of white from a jet hurrying from the south to the north (or vice versa); a single bird hovering so high above the ground I can’t begin to understand how it can spot its prey in the vineyard; some clouds gathering, floating on by, changing shape every second.
Clouds catch our attention a lot, don’t they? Well, not so much when they are uniformly grey and stretching from one horizon to the next, but especially when they form shapes.
Actually I can’t tell you how often one particular Peanuts strip comes to my mind when I start to think about the shapes which clouds make! Wait, I’ll have a look…..oh, yes, here it is!!
What do you see when you look at the cloud I photographed yesterday and posted at the beginning of this piece?
Do you see a dragon? A crocodile? What?
Two things spring to my mind when I start to reflect on our ability to see recognisable patterns in clouds – patterns which we can name – the first is about imagination and how it is always active and always busy creating the reality we experience. It’s not something we switch on and off. We use it all the time to see….to see the physical world, to make sense of it, to interpret it, to make and recognise symbols and be inspired.
The second is about the astonishing pattern-making/pattern-recognising power of the human mind. It’s such an integral part of who we are that we aren’t even aware that we are doing it. But we are. All the time. Seeing not just the patterns of the physical world around us, but the hints, suggestions and representations which are unique to each one of us.