Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cumulo Nimbly

Who Wants To Be A Cloud Controller?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I took these shots some months ago, because I was transfixed as a "normal" sunset suddenly produced purple and violet hues. A couple of minutes earlier, there was a huge wash of orange across the cloud bands when things changed swiftly and dramatically.

When you think about it, clouds have always been a metaphor for life. The phrase "dark clouds are gathering" denotes a particularly testing time, be it for an individual, a community or a nation.

"Cloud-cuckoo land" refers to a fanciful, imaginary place of unrealistic notions. "War clouds" are situations that threaten Man’s peaceful existence. "Storm clouds", apart from being large black clouds that signify a hostile weather pattern, also refer to personal problems.

No one seeks turbulence in their life; neither does anyone invite such a period. But no existence can be trouble-free. Humans are not clones of each other, hence by definition we must make adjustments and allowances for one another’s foibles. In order to co-exist in harmony, we all need to be sensitive to the thoughts and deeds of others.

Perhaps life would be boring if it were predictable. Those who read tarot cards or who can foretell the future in our palms or in patterns left by tea leaves might have a clearer vision of the future than the rest of us mortals. But to me life’s great challenge is its unpredictability.

I'd welcome your views on this theory I have - just as the greatest beauty in Nature's landscapes can be seen under rolling clouds, I think there is a strong human parallel. Perhaps when we are beset by life's problems, we discover resilience and strength we didn't know we possessed. Do you agree with that?

There is something special about clouds, too. Because they are a visible mass of moisture, they are subject to the very weather conditions that create them. No cloud stays stationary. No cloud stays the same shape forever. They morph. They move. They vanish.

In a country like Australia, a cloud is a possible promise of rain. All across a parched land, eyes are lifted in hope whenever an armada of black clouds appears.

Have no fear of the weather. Similarly, have no fear of life. No storm has ever lasted a lifetime.

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44 comments:

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

WWWWWOWWWW .. the sky is on FIRE!!!

Amazing!!

becky voyles said...

Beautiful photos. Such rich colors. I thought this was your Sky Watch at first but then I always go back to see what else you have done. What is your recipe for keeping the dark clouds at bay?

Kelly said...

Beautiful and stunning pictures!!!Awesome....

Torsdag said...

Fireworks of colors.
Clouds are the stage for the sun to show people what light and color are.

Carol said...

David....That's a hauntingly beautiful photograph. I agree that in life, you become stronger with each new bit of 'turbulance'.

I share my mother's fascination with clouds. One moment they're peaceful, the next threatening; but they are always ethereal.

Thank you for a thought-provoking post!

Jennifer H said...

This post was the perfect antidote for my own state of mind today.

The pictures are gorgeous, also.

Colin Campbell said...

Lovely shots David. I love the purple colours. We are enjoying some cloud bursts at the moment. Yesterday we had some hail stones.

I also thought your clouds as metaphors for life was very clever.

polona said...

that's an amazing display of colour!

having my head in a cloud quite literally (my surname means 'cloud' in slovenian), i applaud your analogy :)

Dragonstar said...

Great and thought provoking cloud post. I agree with your analogy. Early man, who was constrained by the weather in a way modern man is not, must have made similar comparisons.
I was brought up with the saying "into each life some rain must fall" - no-one survives without the benefit of rain!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

hi David, thanks for your kind words on my first PSF post!

'I shall endeavour to persevere!'

I take lots of pics, for my online website biz, of family, dog etc, but have gotten out of the habit of doing it for fun and adventure.
You and the gals from PSF have sparked my interest...

Lee said...

David, as much as I liked the photographs, and I thought they needed a place on my apartment walls, I loved your essay even more. It's thoughtful, sincere, and encouraging. Thank you for sharing your feelings on this subject! Just this past weekend I watched Randy Pausch's last lecture. While on a different subject (somewhat) and in a totally different tone, your essay is every bit as good and in some cases better.

Keep Smiling!
Lee

lime said...

oh those are just gorgeous colors. thanks for sharing this batch.

leslie said...

Stunning photos, David. And I really enjoyed reading your philosophy relating to clouds and life. I agree with your analogy. Right now I'm feeling rather moody and blue - I look outside and even though it's July - summer here - all I see is grey skies! We have had far too many days like this over the past year and it's getting a lot of us down. As soon as the sun comes out, we all feel so much better - both physically and emotionally. You Aussies look upwards praying for rain and we Canadians look upwards praying for sunshine! But I must say I've never seen clouds in colours such as you've posted! And I'm envious of that. Have a great day! :D

Pretty Life Online said...

WOw! sooooo colorful! Perfect one for today's photohunt theme... Happy weekend!Mine' sup too hope you can drop by..

Carver said...

Those are amazing shots. I love the colors of the sunset and those are phenomenal.

I wouldn't want to see into the future. Even the hardest times are easier for me to deal with than dreading something. My life has been blessed in a lot of ways but like all of us, I've had some unfortunate events. I'm sure if I'd known in first grade that I was going to be hit by a car in third grade, I would have wasted a couple of fairly carefree years in worry. It wasn't so bad and I recovered fine but that's one example of something bad that happened to me that I wouldn't have wanted to know in advance.

I could use other examples but my point is that even terrible events (loss of loved ones, facing our own mortality, etc.) are sometimes easier to deal with than dreading them. I definitely wouldn't want to see the future. I'd rather enjoy the good times and roll with the punches as long as I'm breathing. Thought provoking post David.

philos said...

What an insightful take on the theme... clouds have always made me think... and I guess it does you too

Leslie said...

Yes, I get a kick out of my Canberra sunsets with the clouds wafting across in front of them...

They're pretty beaut!

Tokenhippygirl said...

The color is stunning in these photos! Just beautiful.

Aggie said...

Love the colours in these clouds. I like your thought that no storm lasts a lifetime.
Our clouds are grey and thundery over here at the moment ... and constant. I'm looking forward to some of the glory colours that signal change to peep through the veil.

fishing guy said...

David: Those are the most outstanding mix of colors I've seen. Life does have its ups and down for certain.
Thanks for the visit.

holly said...

clouds have always symbolized to me the great flux that is life.

well, by *always* i mean from about ten years ago. in terms of my memory capacity, that *is* always.

re cloud refs: cloud nine - that's a good cloudy thing. i like cloud nine. clouds 1-8, not so good.

marcia@joyismygoal said...

deep and interesting thought to accompany your brightly colored clouds like the one I posted too

Sandi McBride said...

If I could make them look like that, me...in a heart beat...
Sandi

jmb said...

Well those certainly are winners! Wonderful shots David.

Catherine said...

G~O~R~G~E~O~U~S SKY WATCH CAPTURES!! :) Beautiful colors, clouds, and skies you've captured!
Happy weekend!
Happy sky~watching!
Cat

napaboaniya said...

Have no fear of the weather. Similarly, have no fear of life. No storm has ever lasted a lifetime.

*cheeky.mode* Somehow, at times when I'm teaching, I pray for thunderstorm!! :P

ancient one said...

Your photos are great as usual, but I especially enjoyed the post and the thoughts you expressed. Dark clouds are necessary. That's when you learn the most. That's when you learn to trust GOD. I know..

Louis la Vache said...

Paintbox images, David! Very fine! You really do some good work - and have some very funny posts as well!

shutterhappyjenn said...

Wow! Purple and orange skies! So great!!!!

I also have posted my cloud pictures. Please check it out in these blogs:
Le Kulitszie Familie and Shutter Happenings

Hope you can hop by if you have some time. Thanks a lot. Happy weekends to you!

tanabata said...

Wow, what fantastic colours!

Hootin' Anni said...

Superb photography David. As always. The colors are breathtaking.

My 'colored clouds' are posted. A bit different in the 'take of the theme' this week. Come by, join me, if you can find time!! Happy weekend.

GoneBackSouth said...

Wise words indeed David. I love clouds - they're like fingerprints, no two are alike.

Cindy said...

I never get tired of watching the sunrise or sunset, or of watching the clouds. Beautiful shot of a beautiful sunset!

My clouds are
Here

Aileni said...

Those purples are stunning - but then the skies give us all the colours but green.
There is the 'green flash' of course.

San said...

GORGEOUS cloud photos. Those skies are so reminiscent of our great southwestern skies.

And your cloud reflections are most evocative.

Nita said...

Beautiful shot! Have a great weekend!

Cheers,
Nitaxz

genny said...

Oh yes thats very nice shot there David good cartured...Happy weekend and hunting too!

Rambling Woods said...

I started on comment 200 and am working my way up...I love to visit all these different places...we are all under the same sky..

Rambling Woods

Randi said...

Your pictures are gorgeous - I love the rich colours - very dramatic!

imbeingheldhostage said...

gorgeous. I used to drive my mom crazy when I was younger because I could shoot whole rolls of film of pictures of only clouds... she didn't see what I did apparently :-)

Sammawow said...

Brilliant post and excellent cloud pictures! I am going to bring up your thoughts tonight at dinner!

Louise said...

The pictures take my breath away. the writing is excellent, and so true. Yes, I agree that "we discover resilience and strength" from life's problems. How would we enjoy the good life if it were always good? It possibly WOULD be boring, but I know for sure we would not appreciate it.

And you are right that no strom lasts forever. In the midst it might seem like forever, but while it is watering the parched earth, making us stronger, it is moving out.

I wasn't around the day this post came out, but I would call it "The Post of the Day!"

KISSEDALOTATOADS said...

You captured the beauty perfectly. Love the colors in this photo. Have a good week.

SabineM said...

lovely shots! I love red skies!