That cloud looks like an anteater, that one a teapot, that one a genie lamp. There's a cat playing with yarn, Santa's sleigh parked over the treetops, an elephant with angel wings, a duck flying South five months too early. All this I try to capture on the page as quick as I can, before the wind blows it all away. Already I look up and the elephant is blind, enveloped by angel wings. Santa's sleigh has taken flight, the genie's three wishes are expired. The yarn has rolled downstream, and with it followed the cat. There were no ants to be found for the anteater, no one jumped for tea, and the duck has left the vicinity. Now that cloud looks like a cardinal's head, that one like a long-neck dinosaur. A teddy bear tans on its back, a skinny okra whale paddles through the blue of the sky, lost, unsure of how to get to the rushing water below. The wind blows. The kayaks slam against the rocks and hip-check each other; the waves crash like dominoes. I look up again. The cardinal found a mate somewhere, the long-neck realized it's only a few million centuries in the wrong era. The teddy bear has flipped onto its stomach to give its backside some color, and the skinny orka has moved upstream, looking for its mother.Everything is constantly changing, although we may not always notice it. We notice not the change in the tides until we look back twenty minutes later and find the sea has taken a fancy to our flip-flops and sand buckets. Neither do we notice how tall our little brother has grown or how his voice has changed; it is always the relatives we see once a year at the family gatherings who pinch his cheeks and marvel at how big he's grown. Yet there are some things, like the clouds, that remind us of how fast time flies, and therefore remind us to not take any moment for granted.
It made me think of what the priest said at my church last week. "To dwell on life's big questions––who am I? why am I here? where am I going?" he said, "––would make the act of living an unbearably tedious and tiring job." Likewise, to dwell on the gradual and inevitable process of changing and aging, would be enough to make one either A) Shut themselves in a dark room to keep from seeing the passing of day to night or night to day or B) Spend their entire life on a hopeless journey searching for some Harry Potterish Elixir of Life.
Perhaps change is so scary because the majority of the time, it seems sudden. Yet I can look at the sky and see the clouds moving, merging, separating...anxious critters, childhood heroes, inanimate objects anxious to be on their way, and I am reminded that life is always moving forward. A few days ago we had our annual back-to-school ice cream social. It's a fun time, with lots of hugging and reunions and chatter about summer adventures. Another summer has come and gone, leaving me, as always, wondering where did the summer go?
Once again, here's hoping you're all enjoying these final days of summer!