For the past two weeks in Illinois we’ve had weather conditions that produce dramatic cloud patterns. While I haven’t had time enough to lie down and watch the clouds forming overhead, it has been possible to stick an arm out the window with iPhone in hand and snap a few photos of the clouds.
Or sometimes I’ll reach into the back pocket of my cycling kit and pull out the phone to snap a photo while riding. Clouds keep me company out there. In Illinois, they are the only equivalent we have to a mountain range looming over the landscape.
Clouds on vacation
Perhaps you’ve noticed that we all tend to pay a bit more attention to clouds when we’re on vacation. Clouds are an indicator of weather conditions, for one thing. So we watch clouds to see whether our plans for the day are likely to be carried out.
But with weather apps so readily available on our phones, the clouds we tend to watch are colored yellow, green, orange and red. They twist and globulate on our phone screens telling us which direction rain clouds are coming from, and whether we have time to enjoy more time outside or when it’s best to retreat.
Clouds and mood
Clouds have the ability to both reflect and form our moods. Last night while driving back from a visit to home of my late wife’s mother, the clouds ahead divided the sky in two. Part of my mind was dark with memories of how long it’s been since I first knew the woman who is now slowly losing her memory. We’re still conversant, and I gave her a long hug telling her how much I loved the garden she still tends, and how it reminded me of the spirit of her daughter.
Then I let the tears come. And I let them fall. A few close sobs inside the air conditioning of the car. Then it began to rain outside.
It felt good and real to let out some genuine grief for the people I’ve lost. I counted them up since 2005. My mother. My father-in-law. My late wife. My father. My longtime track coach. Gone into the clouds, it seems.
Back at home, the skies calmed and the clouds formed a series of faraway characters that seemed Disneyesque in their trio formation. I rode my bike far out in the fields toward the little town of Kaneville. I felt strong and was pedaling a high cadence the entire way.
A couple Strava segment PRs gave way to my efforts yesterday. The sun was close to setting and the subtle clouds to the east turned pink as I rolled up to our house. That was my vacation in the clouds. Enough for the day