Suddenly my attention is caught by this scene outside the window. I stop work and look out in wonder upon this fantastic display.
The ordinary evening ‘cloudscape’ has been transfigured by this present moment of vision. Even the landscape of trees and house roofs has absorbed some of the crimson glow. I’m compelled to stop what I’m doing and just gaze with delight at the glorious sight.
To see one of J.R.Turner’s oil paintings of sunsets I would have to go to one of the great art galleries in London. This amazing display, infinitely better than any Turner ‘sunset’, has come right to my own windows. As we say, ‘If only God signed his sunsets as Turner did his!’
‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’ we say. It’s also my delight as I’m captivated by this impressive sight. The divine Artist has been pouring out his crimson and purple colours with abandon in this display of power and beauty – as if just for the fun of it. I see His ‘signature’ all over this scene outside today and I return to my work inspired to greater things.
Cloud watching can be fascinating. As children we loved to use our fertile young imaginations in this way, seeing in the cloud shapes —faces, animals, people, dragons. Drifting slowly across the sky these silent travellers are always on the move, ever changing.
The skies affect the light in the landscape around us and influence our moods. We all feel better on a bright day. I remember one friend who had to spend many weeks in hospital saying that, with a bed near the window, he used to watch the clouds going by outside. It helped him to pass the time in an otherwise trying situation.
On another occasion this majestic sight caught my attention.
A storm that has been building in the distance is now passing overhead. A gap opens in the cloud to give a dramatic view up into the billowing masses of cumulo-nimbus towering above me, with a patch of clear blue sky far above. I’m wowed into silence and made to feel how very small I am in this vast universe.
Looking up at the clouds puts true perspectives back into life’s small worries and concerns and the latest TV news! There’ s something far greater going on up there.
The clouds that looked so threatening, have passed harmlessly overhead to sail on into the distance – and the heavenly show moves on. No wonder that John Constable used to urge his art students to paint a ‘sky’ every day.
Another morning breaks with this interesting cloudscape spreading out from the east. What does this day hold in store? Those who live and work out of doors know how to read the weather – hence the considerable amount of weather ‘folk law’. Others won’t begin the day without first tapping the barometer to see how the air pressure is moving.
The Signs of the Times
Jesus said: “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
Matthew 16 verses 2-3
As a Christian, with Advent Sunday approaching, I also ‘look up’ in expectation of that great day when Christ comes again ‘in the clouds’ at the end of the world, when ‘every eye will see him….’. (Revelation 1 verse 7)
Thank you again for your company. Do stop what you’re doing just now and look out of the window at the sky. You never know what you may be missing out there! If we spare at least a few moments to put our heads in the clouds, it will do us the world of good!
Next Time : As nights draw in we finish the day well with ‘Nature’s Evensong‘
9 thoughts on “Watching the Clouds”
I love the clouds. As a keen photographer they are so often key to a good picture.
I’m glad you’re a cloud watcher too. They seem to affect everything else. Watching them makes us wiser people too.
A beautiful post, Richard. And I still do this at my advanced age: “As children we loved to use our fertile young imaginations in this way, seeing in the cloud shapes —faces, animals, people, dragons.”
It’s great to hear from you and discover another ‘cloud watcher’. Yes, clouds are an endless source of inspiration and enjoyment. Enjoy your clouds as I do mine. We must persuade others to join us!
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Such a lovely post, Richard! My husband and I are enthusiastic cloud watchers! I love to see the islands and landscapes in the sky and my husband sees creatures! We are fortunate in have such wide open skies to admire here; we appreciate equally the sunsets, cloud formations, approaching bad weather and the clear skies with sun and moon and stars.
Thank you Clare. Good to hear that you’re both members of the ‘wise ones’ who watch the skies. Your East Anglian open skies are famous. John Constable loved them. How sensible to observe approaching bad weather with interest instead of just grumbling about it! Happy cloud watching.
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I too love cloud watching and there have been some spectacular sunsets and beautiful sunrises in recent weeks. When I go to work each morning, I can see the south bank of the river between the buildings and there’s often a lovely hazy light illuminated by orange or pink or yellow.
Clouds are normally such an undervalued feature of our natural world. But they’re all the more special to those of us who are cloud watchers. Do continue to enjoy your morning sunrises across the river. May they inspire and lighten your day.
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