This morning as I drove down the gravel roads to my weekly poetry group, I glanced up at the mesa towering over me in the east. The sky was a perfect, clear, western mountain blue and yet over that mesa was one cloud. Instead of lying horizontally across the top of the mesa as I usually see, it was a tall, slender vertical cloud. It could almost have been the smoke from a fire but it didn’t move the same way smoke does. It caught my eye and my attention has wandered back to that cloud through the day.
One day, when I was living in western Massachusetts, I spend an entire afternoon sitting on my front stoop watching the clouds move across the sky and transform themselves from one shape to the next to the next. It was a soothing and inspiring activity. Somewhere in the archives from the mid-1990s of Spirituality & Health magazine, someone might come across my written meditation on watching those clouds.
I took my first airplane ride when I was 11 with my aunt Clara, we traveled from New York City to North Carolina to visit with her daughter and my cousins. I sat by the window, unafraid, and watched the cloudscapes beneath me, sure and certain that if I stepped out of the plane, the clouds could be a place for me to wander, explore, and when I was tired, to curl up in a soft space to sleep.
When we allow our minds to become still and open, we develop the ability to allow images to move through — inspired by the dancing flames in a fire, the shadows flickering across water, or the shifting shapes of clouds in the sky. And if we continue to remain still within our minds, we can learn to allow those images to inform us – to show us an answer, an explanation, a way forward through a challenge. This is how our intuition, our Inner Self, speak with us.
My day was challenging and enlightening. I am blessed with people who support me with a hug, a kind word, a promise to sit together to listen and love. And as I moved between gatherings and solitude I felt a peace settle over me. That cloud hovering alone above the mesa was an indication of the many ways I still want to let go of believing I have to ‘go it alone.’ It also felt like a sentinel standing guard over the valley between the mesas, keeping watch over us as we went about our daily lives. I am grateful that I was moved to look up and see this sky being and receive its blessing. Today, like the fire, the shadows, and the clouds, I found myself transforming over and over again with each encounter and experience.