Monday, 23 July 2012


I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.*

Almost three years back I did a post on clouds, which has gone on to become one of the most visited posts on the blog. In part, it is because of the poem by Billy Collins. In part, because it alludes to Constable and his masterly cloud studies. Also, I hope, in part, because of the photographs that accompany the text. But mostly I think it is because it concerns clouds.

Weather, as the stereotype goes, is one of the things that people in this part of the globe are most obsessed with. Or more specifically the presence, or the fervently hoped absence, of clouds.  And as with all stereotypes people here sometimes confirm to it too. The operative word being sometimes, not all the time. Especially, at times like this when the summer is said to be the wettest in recorded history. Though most of the time they wax eloquent about it all– the raging winds, the falling rain, the wandering clouds, the cornflower blue skies– in pictures, and in words.

Cloudy. The word often refers to things murky, obscure and difficult to understand. In primary school the water cycle, the originator of clouds, was one of the easiest ways to understand the interconnectedness among all things on earth. A simple diagram with a few squiggles and arrows was all that was needed to make clear one of the most irrefutable truths about all life.

*From The Cloud, a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelly. The complete poem is here. Shelly's sentient cloud is a pleasure to behold as it moves along its earthly journey– from birth to death to renewal, constantly transforming itself and all that it comes in contact with.

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