there are days that the clouds form lower elevation mountains along the horizon and you are certain that land is not far away.
there are days that clouds – skybluepink, puffy white, ominous grey – float by, high in the sky or dipping down into the camera lens, and land – on the other side of lake michigan – is nowhere to be seen.
it depends on the day. it depends on conditions. it depends on tiny atmospheric changes. “air can reach saturation point [forming clouds] in a number of ways.” (noaa.gov)
we are reading john denver’s autobiography. it is a perfect example of all the conditions aligning for clouds to form, a perfect example of the fragility of saturation point. in a series of miniscule decisions, moments, meetings blessed by timing, john denver is catapulted into success. we are almost halfway through, reading aloud and relishing it. john’s music, his messages, his work in the world – most definitely crystals in the atmosphere.
we returned the measure to the library. we didn’t finish it. i look at the stack of books next to my side of the bed and realize that it is not necessarily a light-fiction-time for me, though i am quite sure there might be exceptions and i know that there are profound novels, deeply rich. this bedside stack is non-fiction, informative, questioning. it wasn’t that the measure didn’t seem a good read. it was more that it didn’t hold me, my attention. after the first couple days of blanketed-both-ends-of-the-couch reading snippets as there was time, the book sat atop the throw and just waited and – then – became overdue. the quarters accumulated for a few days and i thought we’d sit down to finish it, but we never did. eventually, we mutually decided to bring it back. and then we talked about it on the trail…why it didn’t seem to appeal to us right now.
i suppose there are times in life when all you need is a giant stack of romance novels or mysteries. maybe those times are periods of comfort – skybluepink times – when you are freer to languish, freer to relax into life. these are the times when you don’t see any horizon – the lake is endless and there are no looming summits to climb.
and then, there are other times in life – when escape would seeeem like a good idea – when, instead, the books you choose are steeped in reality, steeped in others’ challenges and successes, telling stories of grit and fortitude and good luck and the help and support of others, the stories of getting-there. the books ask questions you might ponder in sorting out next or the books outline ways to approach that which you are facing down. non-fiction is more of a unpredictable day out there over the lake, getting unexpectedly sopped by rain, seeing mountains to climb on the other side, wondering if the sun will ever shine.
john denver wrote, “i’d learned that powerful songs are powerful not because they’re pretty or bouncy or funny, but because they’re about the human condition and what we all aspire to; i’d learned those were the songs i loved.”
a pretty sky – or song or book – doesn’t hurt – in fact, it can fill one with much contentment. but only pretty skies could be suffocating. we need the rest – all the atmospheric conditions to really feel the yin-yang spectrum, to know we are truly living, to be reminded of how crystals in the sky are formed and to know the sun is shining – regardless.
read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY
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