Joni Said It
But that's all irrelevant. What I really want to talk about are clouds.
I came out of school remembering the last time I flew, and there they were, the biggest thunderheads I've ever seen, coming over the mountains.
One of my dream-team classmates* was talking to me and we both stopped.
“Do you feel that?” she asked.
“Yeah!” I said.
“Hee! My t-shirt is clinging to me. I'm actually sweating.** This is freaky!”
“It's like being at sea level. No, it's like walking on the beach!” she said.
Then we saw the clouds.
Driving home, I watched them roll and pulse and move. The sun was going behind the mountains and the clouds were Maxfield Parish pink on the tops, with orange bodies and deep blue and gray backs facing the East. They were so big and heavy that they cast a diagonal shadow across the rest of the Eastern sky all the way to the horizon. Beneath them everything was purple, the land ready to be bruised by these ethereal mountains, this floating ocean.
In my head Joni Mitchell sang, “These are the clouds of Michaelangelo” over and over, while on the radio Seal sang, 'In a sky full of people/only some want to fly...in a hell full of people/only some want to fly/'cause they're not crazy.'
Cars were swerving, drivers pointing out the window.
There is a hill near my home that has the best view of the Front Range. There is a stop light on the hill. On the bike path beside it a couple was standing arm in arm staring at the mountains.
Giddy, I shouted out to them, “No, no, no, don't look at the mountains! Those things will be there forever! Turn around!”
They did, and they smiled up at the sky.
In the neighborhood, a group of teenagers had stopped their basketball game to stare. People were out in every other yard, pointing. Standing on the sidewalk I could hear the 20-something guy one house over say to his buddy, “Look at those colors. Straight out of the Sistine Chapel!”
These are the clouds of Michaelangelo...
I wanted to shout that back, but I had more fun listening to them talk about the shapes the clouds took. The animals, the faces. I watched an old man laugh, and lovers approach, kiss and merge.
I decided then that I'm coming back as a cloud that rises from the Pacific and falls into the Atlantic.
These were the clouds that made men first look into the sky and conceive of the gods of thunder.
I opened the garage door and was disappointed to see our other car – along with O and the boyos – still gone. I ran in and grabbed the camera, snapped some photos that capture nothing of what I saw. Like saying, Here, let me show you a bucket of water and tell you it's the ocean -- isn't the ocean beautiful?
Click on this one up close. Thunder god.
They were beautiful. They were terrible. They'll probably kill someone on the Eastern plains tonight.
I hope to God not.
*Sadly, the only one in my current A&P class. We all went separate ways with no Nurse Bagel to guide us.
**Colorado is so dry that sweat evaporates directly off the skin. Not that that's a bad thing.