Gazing out the window at towering cumulonimbus is making me nostalgic.
For a number of things.
Does everyone associate clouds with flying? I do. I remember being up there, in an aeroplane, either high above the clouds or, quite often bumping through them on descent, especially to Bangkok, in the rainy season. That was always an exciting ride.
My last ‘plane ride was flying back to New York after 18 years outside Seattle. It was one of the most excruciating flights I ever endured, and over 62 years I chalked up a few rough ones. No doubt the extreme physical discomfort prevented me from dwelling on the fact that this particular flight might very well be the last for me.
Aeroplanes were always such a feature of my life, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with them. I loved travelling to see family and I loved flying to new places. If I got a really nice seat, it added to the fun. When I was allowed to sit in the cockpit for take-off, and on the floor for the rest of the flight, it was less glamorous and certainly less comfortable, but when you had a free ticket, you could hardly complain. You were just grateful to be on the aircraft.
As mechanical objects, aeroplanes tend, all too often, to break down. And this is where the hate part came in. I’m not talking about flights I took that were delayed, although there were plenty of those. I refer to all the distrupted flights I handled as a customer services representative. Oh the moaning!
There was Concorde, of course.
The most unique aircraft
God how I loved her
Clouds remind me of particular places, too.
For a number of years I visited my parents in Barbados and I shall always remember the high “thunderheads” that we saw in the afternoon, before another magnificent sunset. There is something magical about Caribbean sunsets, palm trees and beaches and sailboats. Peace.
Not so peaceful are tropical monsoons, but I loved those too. Monumental clouds reflected in paddi fields and then the torrential rain that came down in sheets. I love the ferocity and passion of a thunderstorm. They can be dangerous, I know, especially to fliers. Still, I find them energizing.
Often, when I look at clouds, I see shapes, as many people do. I love to watch them morph. I love the little wispy clouds that add texture to a landscape and soften the sky.
This was a cloud that caught my eye in April, last year.
Mostly, clouds seem to remind me of people. People who are gone or people far away.
The sky that gets me most, however, is a cloud-free, clear blue sky.
The day of my mother’s funeral was on such a day, and I remember thinking that the intense colour of the sky reflected my pain.
If I look up and see a sky like this, I am quite apt to have a tear suddenly leak from my eye.