The sky was cloudy as I set out for my evening jog last Sunday, on July 26. It was a little past 6.30 pm when I got out of the gate. I had run barely 350 metres, when I was stopped on my tracks by some stunningly beautiful clouds. The setting sun worked some strange alchemy on the clouds hurtling with urgency across the sky.
There was one particular cloud mass that made me take notice. It looked like massive croissants of whitish-grey hue and there were silver streaks filling the depressions of the croissants, like slivers of silver.
I hadn’t touched my camera for weeks and knew immediately that the clouds were what the camera was waiting for! So, I was back home in no time, took the camera and took the lift to go to the terrace.
I was disappointed when I looked for those cloud formations. The clouds were there, but without those garlands of light which earlier had adorned them.
I was disappointed at not finding what I was looking for. A regret about sacrificing my run for this damp squib of a cloud flashed past my mind.
I thought to myself – I should have stood still and savoured the beautiful clouds while they lasted, instead of running to get the camera.
As I write, it strikes me that these different-shades-of-grey-clouds also would have looked beautiful if only I had taken the time to look at them dispassionately – my mind unclouded by images of the perfect cloud. I end up not seeing so many inspiring things because my mind is almost all the time moving ahead of myself – away from the present moment.
There is really no perfect cloud. Every cloud is unique and beautiful in its own way. And, everything that glitters is not gold. The dark grey clouds contain the same stuff as the clouds that emanate a golden hue. As they journey across the vast expanse, what was earlier grey turns golden because of a strange chemistry caused by the sun. And, what once looked brilliant turns into a pale shadow of its former self. I have been to that place.
If dark grey clouds didn’t exist the saffron ones wouldn’t be so interesting. Even among clouds there is so much of inter-dependence. The brightly lit clouds don’t pick up quarrel with the grey mass because they are not so dominant or colourful. In the skies, there is an eco-system of co-existence. Sadly, it doesn’t happen that way down below where we live.
Being on the right side of the sun at the right time make some clouds bloom. What and who I keep company with makes a world of difference. I shine my light to the extent I am lit by my goals and dreams. Also the people and inspirations I surround myself with.
The rays of the setting sun works magic on the clouds it shines on. I have that power too – to shine my light on others. By choosing to be myself. By knowing that I am part of this beautiful inter-connected weave of life. By knowing I have that light in me. And by consciously choosing to shine my light.
That Sunday, I stood watching the huge fire a little away from my house. As it raged, tongues of the fire leapt several meters into the sky. Thick smoke bellowed, skywards. Fortunately nothing untoward happened. After all, the fire was in the vast empty space and in my imagination!
“Don’t forget: beautiful sunsets need cloudy skies.”-Paulo Coehlo
And, something poignantly wonderful happens when I – “Turn Wounds into Wisdom”
– Oprah Winfrey.
I have so far not cut short a run right at its start to marvel at and capture the sky at sunset. I feel happy that I listened to the urge to run to the terrace, camera in hand. As I clicked away, I saw the sunset through the prism of the camera lens. The beauty of the scene penetrated into my mind and being, as I adjusted the aperture and light settings manually. That day I was lucky.
I am sure, some of those lovely clouds wafted into me. Some neural pathways are now imprinted with the clouds. And they will remain there for a long time. Because of a very small decision to change course and stop running. And journey with the clouds for a while.
Most of the time, it’s those small decisions that works wonders or misfortunes in my life.
As I ran a little more than 5 km from 6:55 late in the evening, my steps were bouncier than usual. I was close to cloud 9 state.
“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such speed. It feels an impulsion … this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond the horizons.”
– Paulo Coehlo