"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Today's clouds, and living in texture

There's an old Gospel song, theoretically based on Rev. 22, The Land of an Unclouded Day, written in the 1880s by Josiah Alwood. It's a song of growing older, of missing those who have "passed over," and of surviving life's tribulations.
I love that song, but it occurs to me, I don't want to live in a place without clouds. Growing up in the Great Plains, clouds bring both hope and horror, as we've seen recently in Oklahoma. But life would be so boring, so featureless without them. So hopeless in fact, I think after a recent visit to the Oklahoma panhandle where there has been less than an inch of rain since January. Ranchers are selling their stock, pastures are gone, ponds and wells running dry. These are tough people, but they know the toughest drought in four generations when they see it.
As a child of the Great Plains, I can't help but take photos of clouds, of wanting to paint them to enjoy them, because they bring a source of life and life itself would perhaps not be worth living if not for the metaphorical and real clouds that come through our lives over the years. Johnny Cash sings it.
If there weren't clouds, would there be any happiness? And as August approaches with its withering heat, I hope these cloud photos of the past few days get to continue, rather than the dull, sun dried pale blue that is the opposite.
"Out here there's the sky," --Willa Cather

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