Decorative Clouds

+ clouds at sunset Jen Melanson Aug 15 blogDo you watch the clouds? I do.

Looking up at the sky, I feel a connection with “above,” which simultaneously helps me feel grounded with the earth I’m standing on “below.”

My eyes drift up as I walk around my neighborhood, drive in my car, sit on the shore at the ocean. I love the variety, texture, colors of clouds. I appreciate the nurturing rain they bring, the dramatic snow. When they part and leave the sky blank and sapphire blue, I enjoy the contrast and wait for them to return.

One night, I heard the TV weatherman give his prediction for the next day, wrapping up his report by saying, “Tomorrow will be mostly clear with just a few decorative clouds in the sky.”

Decorative clouds…Was that a meteorological term I hadn’t heard before? Or was the weatherman just waxing poetic?

At any rate, I liked his word choice – decorative clouds – and carefully watched the sky the next day.

Sure enough, the clouds were decorative – the light, fluffy kind that don’t offer rain or much shade or anything beyond themselves. Gently, they drifted across the rich blue sky, decorating the horizon and heavens above with their wisps and puffy shapes.

Watching them, I thought about the temporary nature of clouds. My decorative clouds were never there for long – they lingered in the sky for a while and then moved on by. If I looked away for few minutes and looked back, their shape had changed or they’d disappeared all together.

It was a lesson in impermanence.

Clouds change all the time, as do larger weather patterns. The heavy, overcast stretches of grey eventually brighten; the gorgeous sunny days become subdued. A severe thunderstorm pounds us with hail and rain and then moves on. A blank, cloudless sky is decorated with a few clouds that drift in and create interest.

The weather always fluctuates; what remains constant is the sky itself, the atmosphere around the clouds. Taking off in a rainstorm, an airplane bursts through the heavy clouds into the upper atmosphere. Magically, oblivious to the weather below, all is clear and sunny.

The sky holds the space for it all.

I’d like to be like the sky, able to hold space for the changeable events and emotions that cloud and flow through my life. Seeing each event, emotion, and situation that comes along as temporary would help me avoid getting stuck in the fear that the hard things won’t pass. I might also feel less inclined to cling to the precious moments in my life, knowing that though they won’t last forever, that others will come along eventually.

Eckhart Tolle offers us this perspective about some of the cloudy, stormy states of being that challenge us: “Boredom, anger, sadness, or fear are not ‘yours,’ not personal. They are conditions of the human mind. They come and go. Nothing that comes and goes is you.”

In this sense, what comes and goes is like the clouds. What remains is “you” – the sky surrounding the clouds; the sky which symbolizes Essence, Spirit, Love, holding all with neutrality, appreciating the impermanence.

Decorative clouds keep the landscape interesting, and so do the events that come along in our life. Admittedly, sometimes the landscape is more “interesting” than we might be comfortable with!

But, knowing what will change, and knowing that what doesn’t change is Spirit, we can watch the “clouds” with patience and love.


Photo: J. Melanson


  1. Great post, Janet. We must be on the same wavelength. I recently heard someone during a meditation i was doing talk about the sun above the clouds and i thought it would be a great title for a blog about moving through difficulty.

  2. This was a beautiful and wise essay…It put me in a meditative state just to read it. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Spiral Energies says

      The sky has a lot to teach us! Good to hear you had such a calm response. Thanks for commenting, Laura.

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