I’ve been thinking about clouds a lot lately. It started with a line on a blog (WordDreams By Jacqui Murray) about a metaphor telling me not to use “hard as nails.” Of course not. It should be, “hard as a cloud.” Nails aren’t hard. Hit one with a hammer and you’ll see it bend. Grab a nail with a pair of pliers and twist it around until it breaks. Nails are not hard.
Nails are easy. Nails are simple. Hammer blow or shot from an air gun, they hold two pieces together for a time. Two chunks of wood or two thoughts. We think of nails as immoveable, but ask the demolition crew and discover that a nail is just an inconvenience in clearing buildings from the ground. Nails are transitory, ephemeral, and destined over the eons to bend, be bent and be returned to the ground humans conjured them from.
Clouds are more permanent. They are harder than nails. Yes, you can fly through a cloud. The wind can move it around, but you can’t grab it with your pliers and twist it till it breaks. You can’t strike a hammer blow that bends it. They are eternal, constant and destined to float over our long occupied graves.
A little known fact: An average cumulus cloud weights 1.1 million pounds.
Clouds are heavy. They blanket the world. They bring the rains and floods sweeping away all that nails hold together. They carry the hail and lightning that turns nails into insignificance while the cloud’s thunder roars.
Clouds bring the gentle rains, nourishing the earth. They bring shade and welcome cooling on a summer day. In winter they blanket the night sky holding the earth’s warmth close.
Clouds. Try to grab a handful of cloud. Stand on the mountain top and let it flow over your desire.
Such is the weight of a cloud.
Looking up from my mother’s grave
you can always see clouds.
Just there, moving towards the hills,
rabbits, cows, and sheep
float past in their silent parade.
They are always there.
Sometimes white and fluffy.
Sometimes dark and threatening.
Mother gave me my first
hammer and nail.
We made nothing, just reveled in the joy
of hammer striking nail,
of nail joining wood to wood.
It was grandfather who showed me how
to straighten a bent nail,
how to remove one.
He showed me how to drive home
a nail in three hammer blows.
Clouds have thunder and lightening.
Clouds bring the life-giving rain.
Clouds bring the floods,
to wash the world’s pain.
Ephemeral nail held up to the
light of a cloud draws my heart
to the desire of the sky.
The cloud drifts towards an unknown future
while my feet stand joined to earth,
and my soul longing.
Till next week,