Head In The Clouds

I know that I am in a pocket of relaxation when I find myself watching clouds. The calming sensation of simply watching tufts of vapour gather and take on massed formations before splintering into separate threads – it symbolises a shift into deeper thoughts or just pondering.

There are other times when the natural world offers moments of welcome distraction – spend some time watching the swell and surge of the ocean, or lose your thoughts in lush green foliage under a canopy of trees. There is something elemental about being absorbed, even temporarily, in nature that seems to recalibrate my mind and soul.

This isn’t to say that the usual pattern of thoughts and mental to-dos vanish, but at these times there seems to be more scope to think a bit differently and to puzzle things out.

A quick google search shows that I am not the only cloud appreciator. There is an exquisite time-lapse clip here with calming music to mesmerise the mind on a day when access to the sky is limited, or if there is a cloudless sky.

There is even a Cloud Appreciation Society with thousands of members in over 100 countries. Membership benefits include receiving a cloud a day. Their manifesto rallies against ‘blue-sky thinking’ and advocates that “clouds are for dreams and their contemplation benefits the soul”. I heartily agree with their declaration to all who will listen:

Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and always remember to live life with your head in the clouds!

During a TED talk by the Society’s founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney (called Cloudy with a Chance of Joy), we are reminded that clouds provide an opportunity to tune in and slow down whilst watching clouds. They offer a chance to find the exotic in the everyday, in an activity that is aimless yet important in providing a legitimate form of doing nothing in an otherwise overly busy life. Cloud watching is good for ideas, creativity and for your soul.

I’m off to do some cloud-gazing. How about you?

[Photo: clouds above Hartley Valley, towards Mt York]

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My I Spy: Something beginning with ‘C’

I have a sneaking suspicion that I am being lulled into a false sense of security with the early letters in the alphabet. There has been some headscratching over E, and I haven’t thought much about F either, hoping instead that something will come across my path over the next few weeks. But for now, some things beginning with C.

China

China

China

My appreciation of fine bone china is influenced by my Mum, who has a beautiful assortment of exquisite cups, saucers, milk jugs and other tea related items. I cannot resist upturning a teacup if the china feels right, and will gravitate towards light, beautifully crafted but worn pieces over a sturdy white modern plate. The samples above are some of my favourites, including the Cup of Knowledge which sits on a saucer outlining the horoscope. A fine cup is worthy of a good brew, and might explain why I enjoyed a recent trip to Bygone Beauties.

Cloud in the Hartley Valley

Cloud in the Hartley Valley

Cloud Formations

One of the many aspects of mountain life that delights me is cloud formation. Seriously. I am not clever enough to be able to identity individual clouds as such, but I do know what I like. Coming down into the valley through light cloud cover is a delight, and I had to pull over and take a photo of the low cloud, slipping across the top of the trees. I know I’m relaxed when I find myself looking upwards, daydreaming upon cloud formations.

It also makes me think of The Service of Clouds by Delia Falconer, a wonderful novel set in the Blue Mountains. There is a review of the book in the New York Times here. Falconer’s book on Sydney as part of a series on Australian cities is also excellent. There is a review by another great writer, Drusilla Modjeska, in The Monthly here.

Katoomba Court House

Court House, Katoomba

Court House, Katoomba

The growth of Katoomba and the surrounding areas in the 1880s resulted in a deputation of Alderman heading to Sydney to request a courthouse in the town. Located on the northern side of the railway tracks, the court house was constructed in the late 1890s in the Federation Romanesque style and opened in 1897. It remains an imposing presence over a century later.

I am looking forward to seeing what delights my fellow alphabeteer Autumn comes up with for ‘C’, and am off to hunt down something beginning with ‘D’.