Clouds


Clouds are such interesting things. From a distance they look impenetrable, blocking out the sun, bringing rain, hail or snow. Yet when you get up close, they are not really there. Stuff swirls around you, but where is that cloud? Where is that solid thing you watched from below?

I think clouds are pretty much like important events in history. They seem huge and solid from afar. But when you get close to them, they are just made up of many droplets, each doing something, but alone not enough to create excitement. You have to step back, to see all of the droplets together to see a political movement, a king’s reign, the migration of a people. Just as one picture doesn’t make an artist, one book doesn’t make a writer, so we have to see the components together to assess and understand them.

The signing of the Magna Carter or the American Constitution, or even our own Constitution, was not a matter of one hour when all put their names onto a document. It was the time when all of the long years of learning and thinking, often struggle and pain, had come together in discussions, culminating in words agreed upon to represent something. The final signing was just a point in time when all of those ideas / water droplets came together, close enough to be visible.

Clouds also look different depending on your angle of sight to them. A black storm cloud from the earth may be a lovely white tumble for an aircraft passenger. So too can historical events be seen. What was for one group; an immigration to gentler and kinder lands, is for another group the invasion that left so many dead.

Have you ever noticed, pictures of earth from space only ever show white clouds? I suspect that is how human history seems to an alien, watching patiently over us from outer space. Turbulence, changing locations, yet always just clouds/us.

Inspired by Paula Tohline Calhoun

 

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