Heavy Skies


Dark clouds never show when you want them _ bright day, white stretches, no complaints.
  • This summer was full of rain, but those storms seemed filled with light anyway.  November rains and November skies are different.  Perhaps because the sun is dimmer and lower, clouds are dark and threatening, dramatic and purple.  When darkness accompanies precipitation scenes are cast into deep twilight.
  • Now there are many fewer hours of daylight.  Only a few of them, on the best of days, are filled with bright sparkle and blinding flash.  When that happens, the contrast with the “new normal” is all the more intense.  Far more often such moments feel like temporary breaks in some coming apocalypse, heralded by the moaning swish of dry falling leaves and the deep cutting chill of raw wind.


Low tide exposes rocks and old pilings, reminding us of spare months to come.
  • We can easily find patterns in ink blots, reflections, leaves, fate, tea leaves, entrails, history, economics, politics, and clouds.  Faces, dragons, random images appear to warn, frighten, entertain, or soothe.  Our rational natures know it is our projections that create these shapes, but our deeper reptile emotions believe there must be truth lurking behind what we intuit.
  • Most of the time we hardly notice clouds, except as comment on likely weather.  Once in a while we may admire ethereal beauty in a sunset, or enjoy a frisson of danger as thunderclouds sweep near.  Yet they are always there, in reality or potential, framing a large chunk of our outside world. 
  • November clouds signal holidays to me _ Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year.  Their immense dark waves, or thick quilts, or foggy damp should create a mood of gloom.  Yet I feel none, I am secured against these wisps of vapor, and I have carefully buried most of my hidden fears under the rush of exciting days upcoming.


Hardly typical of November, a solitary puff floats over the dock.
  • I wandered lonely as a cloud …
  • Clouds are rarely alone in the sky, often massing in crowds, mobs, and hordes.


Reeds in final feathery fall splendor before being ravaged by storm and snow.
  • Late fall is muted earth colors, as all the flash and dazzle of summer blooms and spectacular dying gasps of foliage fade and fall more or less silently away.  As the world turns brown, the sky takes its turn at dominance, and will hold it for a while.  Are those fair weather clouds, or wind, or rain, or possibly a blizzard? 
  • The various changes wrought by overcast have their own effect on the hues seen below.  A clear sky seems to give true colors _ until we observe the blue of snow from reflections.  Purple or grey overhead sets its own deep patterns on everything.  And we become aware how a seemingly warm day can suddenly turn cold and raw whenever a shadow occludes the sun _ accompanied by immediate darkness that chills right back into our soul.


I am too amateur to retouch such views from our porch,  sometimes mesmerizing for half an hour or so.
  • Skies have apparently always held portents, from meteors to supernovae to the creeping of the sun lower or higher each day except at the equator.  More transient flights of birds and cloud patterns were also thrown into the mix.  Clouds, at least, do more or less equate to what may happen.  Winter coming back in the northern hemisphere, snow, or rain herald a true time of changes and often hardship.
  • Surely blood-red sunsets were more meaningful to native American than the usual midsummer cheerful displays of sparkling gold and crimson.  Perhaps there were fewer such back before heavy industrial pollution.  Even in our science-minded time, it seems hard to ignore what such clouds are trying to tell us.


Wind clouds crouch on the northern horizon, beyond this patch of clear crisp breeze.
“Hey Carl, nice day!  Dig out the winter gear yet?”
Carl glances up at the threatening cloudbank hovering on the northern horizon.  “About a week ago.  But this month it’s pretty useless no matter what.”
“Just colder, that’s all …” I begin
“No, you know better.  Rain is much warmer.  It’s the clear days that come with frigid temperatures.”
“Well, sometimes,” I admit.  We both sense the freshening breeze. 
“True mostly,” he insists.  “Gotta run, still a mile to go and I’m not sure I have the time.”

“Right, have a nice day.”  I speed up a bit myself as the first drizzled drops begin.


Crystalline waters free of algae with a few floating leaves reflect impossibly complicated possible patterns.
Dark low clouds may fit my mood
Or I may find they contradict
I alone invest portent
It’s true the world is but a stage
But we are not bit players here
I am sole author of this play

Plot and meaning, self and clouds.

Its only audience.