Saturday, 28 June 2008

I Really Don't Know Clouds At All

I've recently started reading "The Cloudspotter's Guide" and how my eyes have been opened.

Since I've lived in England, I've viewed the clouds as dense covering of the sunshine and blue sky I have coveted. What did I know about cumulus, cirrus, stratus? What did I care? But slowly I started to pay attention.

Where I live the weather always comes in from the west, over the Welsh hills and across the Irish Sea. When Wales looks like midnight during midday, I know in a few short minutes we will have the wind and the rain too. Equally, when the sun shines over Wales, I am confident the wind will push the clouds away here soon enough to reveal the sun.

Take today for example. The day started off bright enough. Hubby and I hurried outside to do some gardening. Or I did some gardening and hubby worked on his latest project: Stairway to nowhere. (We have a huge tree stump hubby tried to remove with no luck so came up with the idea to build steps over it. Don't ask. I already made that mistake.) Gradually, the sky darkened as the clouds thickened (and I haven't read enough to tell you what kind the clouds were but I can assure you they weren't cumulus humilis). Some raindrops fell, the temperature dropped as the wind picked up. But still we worked on. At about 2:30 I went inside to have some lunch and a rest. I thought about getting a shower but the garden and its weeds beckoned to me. I donned my gardening coat, normally reserved for winter, and went back out.

And then the clouds changed from dense grey to flat white. The sun made a guest appearance, and I came inside to write this post.

My point, if I have one, is this: As Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the author of "The Cloudspotter's Guide," says, blue sky is boring. The clouds are what make our lives interesting and give it texture.

And so this applies to my life at the moment. Hubby did not get the job he went on the third interview for. They informed him by email yesterday. (You'd think they could have phoned, seeing as he was one of two candidates for the job.) This black cloud that seems to have been over us all year is actually several clouds that have come and gone. Some seem quite threatening and black at the time but get moved on by the wind before causing too much damage. Others hang over and rain and clear and rain and clear.

I am afraid of this turn of events. I am afraid because it could mean a change to the status quo. And I, Capricorn that I am, am not one for change. Not that I don't welcome change, but I don't encourage it either. I, with four (!) closets full of clothes I mostly don't wear, can weather a financial hailstorm. I have done it before. When I started my very first job, I couldn't afford to get the electricity and phone turned on till after my first paycheck. I lived on no-brand white bread, peanut butter, and orange soda. I took cold showers, which was fine because it was July in Fort Myers, Fla. I worked at night so got by with candlelight. I lost loads of weight.

That was 27 years ago. I can change my life again if I have to. It just requires a different perspective. And "The Cloudspotter's Guide" is helping me find it.


-Ann said...

Excellent post. We have that book sitting in a drawer - maybe I should give it a read.

I hope the storm doesn't come.

Pantheist Mom said...

Hang in there, Wakeup. You are finding the right attitude to attack this period with. Observation and reflection - and you will find the optimism eventually.

Very very nice post, by the way. I, too, love clouds, which is in large part why I became an atmospheric scientist. My most favorite weather ever is truly the calm before the storm - darkened skies and insidious winds. The anticipation is almost always more intense than the actual storm, too.

You're clearly a survivor - and one with interesting stories, which is lucky for we readers.

Highland Housewife said...

Lovely post. I love watching the clouds with my daughter. They metamorphosise (!) into all manner of things. I hope your cloud-watching helps you see a way ahead and that a new wind blows those dark clouds away.

Flowerpot said...

Sounds a great book and very good analogy for life. Hang on in there and best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Clouds move on. And the sun comes out. If it's meant to be, it will happen. Hope things work out for you soon.

CJ xx

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

It is amazing to see clouds through a child's eyes. They view them with such wonder and see amazing things. Then say something like "what do clouds taste like?"

DogLover said...

I'm another cloud enthusiast. When I was young I knew the names of all the different types of cloud and, later, when I got into photography, I realised how they could make a picture - white sunlit clouds behind the camera light up the dark shadows. A cloudless sky makes photography awfully difficult.

And you're lucky too in having weather coming in from the Atlantic over the Welsh hills - it makes the sky so blue. Here in Surrey (Southern England) we get a lot of stuff coming from the Continent of Europe and the skies are always a pathetic pale blue with all the filth in the atmosphere!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Brilliant post. A great metaphor for your lives right now. Coffee -you are certainly being hit with both barrels blazing. It's called the catastrophic effect - one thing after another, after another, after another. I've been there and know what each sucker punch feels like when you still haven't stopped reeling from the last one.

The email feedback on your husband's job interview - God we really have sunk quite low as a nation as this is quite common now. People aren't trained to give bad news so hide behind email and text msgs. Shocking bad manners and a terrible let down.

I'm with the fabulous comment Crystal made - clouds move on - it's patience though that is hard to find whilst waiting for the sky to clear.

You'll do it.

Exmoorjane said...

Fabulous post. Know so well where you're at..... This made me laugh at the end with the living on nothing bit - I (fellow Cap) did just that too - working at Earls Court (where they gave you lunch) I used to get a tiny carton of milk, some cheese and a yoghurt and slide it in my bag to take home for my supper....I could just about afford the teabags!
Do hope the storm clouds give way to, eeek, whatever the nice fluffy harbingers of calm days are...

jenny said...

I must admit, when I first started reading the post, I moved on. But I got curious and came back to see what you wrote about clouds and realized it was more about you than clouds.

It has been a rough year for you with all sorts of ups and downs, and I can feel your frustration and pain. It took me a long time to shake off the negative and start seeing the positive side of Hubby not working and this surprise pregnancy and tightening the belt financially and all that... I am in no position to give advice, because nothing I said to Hubby has gotten him a job, but I do know this-- keep the faith-- not just in God, but in your marriage, your husband, your kids and yourself. You are all so much stronger than you think and sticking together will see you all through whatever storms the clouds may bring.

Sparx said...

Hi WakeUp - you have a great attitude to your current weather, I'm sure you'll get through it. You have a great attitude - I've been really broke a few times and in a way it helps to know that one can always do it again if one has to.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

-ann: Get that book out right now. It doesn't deserve to be in a drawer.

pm: That's my favourite weather too. I used to like to go swimming just as the wind was churning up the waves and turning the sky a dark gray. And thunderstorms in Florida are marvellous things.

highland housewife: Your story reminds me when my daughter and I used to lie on the grass and look up at the sky. I would exclaim, "I hate the rain." She would reply, " I like the rain -- when it stops." And that is how she is to this day. Always a positive spin.

flowerpot: Thank you. I'm just about hanging in there.

cj: You're so right. As Annie would sing, "The sun'll come tomorrow."

tara: I wonder what clouds taste like too. That's a very good question.

doglover: And that's another perspective about clouds I hadn't thought about, not being a photographer. When we have blue sky, which isn't too often, it is a vibrant blue. But the best blue for blue sky is in Wyoming.

Hey mob, I think email feedback on jobs should be outlawed, quite frankly. Can you imagine being made redundant through an email? And yet it happens all the time.

exmoorjane: Ah, it's the hard times that makes us appreciate our lives today, and gives us stories to tell our young ones about how hard life can be.

jenny: I'm quite embarrassed to be moaning when there you are, so exuberantly handling what you have going on in your life. Thank you for your visit and for reminding me to keep my chin up and look for the positive. As Monty Python would sing, "Always look on the bright side of life."

sparx: Thank you. Our tough times just make us tougher.

DJ Kirkby said...

Good attitude, you should offer workshops on this!