One Sunday morning, as I sat waiting for the traffic light to change, I couldn’t help but notice how the clouds filled the sky. Shapes were emerging, then disappearing into the fluffy, white masses in the sky, floating off as far as I could see. With the sun shining and the bright-blue late August sky, it truly looked like a painting. I spent the afternoon stealing glances out the windows every chance I could, wishing I was lying in the grass watching this “painting” float by. The picture I took doesn’t do it justice.
Technically, clouds are made of water droplets or ice crystals that float in the sky and bring us all sorts of different weather patterns. You can read all about the different types of clouds at SciJinks: It’s All About the Weather. But they are much more than science. Watching them really is like seeing an ever-changing painting of colors and shapes.
Cloud watching has a bad reputation. Have you ever heard someone say “they have their head in the clouds”? It’s an idiom. (An idiom is an expression that means something very different than the literal meaning of the phrase. Someone doesn’t literally have their head in the clouds. It means that their mind is somewhere else, daydreaming or distracted.) Now, you wouldn’t want to spend all of your time with your head in the clouds, but daydreaming isn’t always a bad thing; it can build your imagination! I think we could all use a little more imagination and a little time in the clouds.
Did you know there’s a Cloud Appreciation Society? Neither did I! There really is! I was so excited to see there are people just like me who love gazing up at the clouds. To me, there are few things as fun and relaxing as a beautiful blue sky filled with big, fluffy white clouds and a free afternoon to watch them drift by. As a writer, it can inspire me with an ever-changing scene of stories and prompts. What does that cloud look like? Is that a dragon chasing an elephant? It is so easy to get lost in the clouds.
Clouds in Art
Clouds have inspired many artists, musicians and writers.
In 1822, John Constable painted a series of clouds so realistic that today’s meteorologists can pinpoint the season and even the time of day the paintings represent.
Vincent Van Gogh’s swirly clouds in his painting Starry Night are like something from a dream.
In Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky Above Clouds (which you can see at the Art Institute of Chicago) the clouds go on and on as far as the eye can see.
So use your imagination, let the clouds inspire you and keep your head in the clouds at least for a little while.