One of the many reasons I love living in the West is the access to big open sky. I do enjoy traveling to other states and places but after a while, I miss that vast expanse. Even the forests in the West are filled with sky. It feels like back East (the few places I have been there) it goes from daylight to nighttime, with no sunset warning between the thick trees or crammed city streets.
But I digress. THE CLOUDS, JESS. We are here for THE CLOUDS.
So, you have heard of the Cloud Appreciation Society, yes? What – you haven’t? Well! ::pushes glasses up nose:: Rather than bore you on a big long block of text about it 1. I’m sure you can deduce from the name what they’re all about; 2. You can watch the video here to get more philosophical about cloud-watching.
I have been a cloud-watcher all my life, but after joining up with the CAS in 2008, it has become a very large thing in my life. I try not to bore people about it, but I do have a habit of texting friends photos and exclamations – “THE CUMULONIMBUS!!” It really is a great experience to just watch the clouds at any time of day. Sunrise and sunset being my favorite, of course. Or, as my new favorite word says it: Crepuscular. Sometimes it is nice to share it with someone, but there is a perfection in experiencing it alone.
Years ago, Rob Sweere began what he named the Silent Sky Project, where he invited workers inside a mall to come to the roof and lie in silence (or as he called it “a conversation with the clouds”), for 30 minutes, looking up into the sky. It was such a success that he had it in other places and then it took off around the world. I’m all for that.
There isn’t an official Cloud Appreciation Day, because really, it should be everyday! But if you feel like choosing your own special cloud day, make yourself a cloud cocktail, create a giant, permanent cloud, grab your cloud-spotting guide, or just straight up lie down and look up!
Lately, I have been having a major case of the blocks.
My head feels like a block, I feel like there are walls made of fog blocking my way. The road to creative fervor is paved with side roads, low roads and just plain BLOCKS.
This time around, among other things, I have been pushing too much outward. Trying to help everyone else is very fulfilling to me, but it can definitely take its toll if I don’t pull back and work on the “positive selfishness” that I need.
Illustration by Claire Dain, from the Rookie article: “Suburbia’s Not So Bad Sometimes,” which states that “Anyone can transform the mundane into something magical.”
It is incredibly comforting that many of the people I admire for their creative output also have problems and blocks just as high and solid as mine. I read these two the other day and some of the fog seemed to evaporated as I let them settle into my brain.
♠ Warren Ellis always has genius ideas, least of which is this gem:
“Invite your most brilliant friend over, kill them, find and eat their adrenal glands and then wear their skin as a shamanic cloak until the next full moon.”
♠ The Jealous Curator now has a whole book and tag on her site devoted to unblocking, through ideas and artistic tasks that I can say from experience, have helped me chip away at some of that blockage.
This too shall pass.
[ ˈsəkər ]NOUN
assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.
“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
– Albert Einstein
“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountain rise into and above the clouds.” -Edward Abbey
I have been racking my brain to write something out of all the retrospectives I have read at the end of the year, to start a new one. To write something that will sort of rally the troops as we all delve into this year together.
I came up short of anything thought-provoking, but thinking about it did make me write about some other stuff.
Most years start off easy, take everything at a relaxing pace, and most years end the same way. I have decided that for this year, I’m going to go hard into the paint, so to speak.
(Also, “hard into the paint” is my favorite, and only correctly used, sports metaphor, so please let me have it and don’t judge me for using it too often.)
Sure, I might burn myself out. But I haven’t felt that great burned out from being creative burn in a while. Having that feeling under my belt might open me up to even more adventures.
I love the idea of thinking about projects and experiments, rather than resolutions. I can resolve to send out inspirational postcards to pen pals once a month, if I think of it more as a happiness project. I can also experiment with a new habit if I think of it in terms of just one month, like Art of Manliness’ 31-Day Journal prompts. I also might possibly need a little help in re-learning how to pay attention.
A little late, but some things to think about for the coming year in these New Year’s Asks.
Editing photos this morning, and I liked the TV shot background of these two pics. Plus, I kind of wanted to show off my terrific new water bottle that does not match my “Free Spirit” vintage bike, but I love it just the same.