“You are the sky; everything else is just the weather.”

Pema Chodron

In late February, with the advent of spring, the prevailing path of storm fronts rotates from east to west. Temperatures rise. Precipitation presents itself as rain instead of snow. Depending on your disposition, Oregon’s default weather forecast is now either partly cloudy or partly sunny.

Air currents, everything from soft breezes to gale force gusts, flow through the funnel of the Lost Lake Canyon adjacent to our home, carrying with them the troposphere’s magnificent portfolio of cloud art.

My camera is an observatory for the compositions of cloud phenomena. In a split second it captures the transient beauty of light, wind and water. Their very impermanence make clouds a reliable touchstone in an unpredictable world. Though fickle in appearance, this gallery of abstract creations brings out the curator in each of us. All we need do is look up and the sky becomes a canvas reflecting our desires.

When I meditate on the ephemeral allure of clouds, I don’t dream of world peace or a cure for cancer. I merely marvel at the spectacle. My disease, multiple myeloma, has a life of its own. We suppress it with drugs, delaying a likely progression. I understand that my lengthy period of stability is a gift. I accept it; I’m grateful, but it feels greedy to ask for more when I already have so much. And yet isn’t it the essence of art that what I find wondrous about clouds helps me tolerate what is wretched about the cancer?

We are in the final stages of selling our home in the country and buying another in town. What we leave behind in peace and quiet will be balanced by what we gain in the proximity to the conveniences of city life. Fortunately, clouds don’t limit themselves to rural environments. When we complete our planned move to Hood River, their poetry will be waiting.

6 thoughts on “Clouds

  1. Have you ever seen Alfred Stieglitz’s Equivalent series? Same fascination and emotion that you show in yours…you’re in great company…in many ways… 🙂


  2. Another gorgeous piece of writing. I am having trouble with my java script on my computer, something that hasn’t inconvenienced me until now. As I read your piece, I came across the message “java script required to view this slide show.” I’ll have to let your words do the job of painting the picture.


  3. Beautiful stunning photos here John – I have enjoyed viewing them very much. I too live in an area of the ‘big sky’ and spend much time looking upwards through the changing seasons, we are lucky with very little light pollution – no street lights in this tiny village- so a brilliant night sky. Often think of you and continue to wish you well. Stay strong.


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