I have had a lifelong love of gazing at clouds, watching as they drift lazily past then gather in beautiful formations or discovering shapes and stories in their changing forms.
This began as a young child in Clinton, Iowa where I learned to watch for the fast-moving, greenish-gray clouds which usually foreshadowed a city-wide tornado warning. This fascination continued as my family moved to southern California and my younger brother and I would climb onto the roof of our apartment building to watch the bright golden-red sunsets behind the cotton ball clouds which hovered over the ocean. After moving to Utah and falling in love with the mountains I have observed the clouds that tend to linger at the tops of the majestic peaks.
Simply put, I love clouds.
I have realized over years worth of observation and fascination that the clouds could be considered something of a metaphor for my life.
Sometimes I feel as though I am stretched much too thin, like cotton batting clouds, pulled so tightly in so many directions that holes begin to show through.
Other days, like the clouds I see so often clinging to the tops of mountains, I just need something to hold on to, whether it be my family, my faith, my memories or any other thing that can sustain me until I am ready to stand on my own again.
Some of my best days are the ones where I am like the clouds which are filled with light. I feel ready to conquer the world - or at least the various tasks associated with being a wife and mother and human being - with a bright and happy countenance, filled with hope and possibility.
There are also times when I feel like a storm cloud, dark and angry and ready to burst. I reach a point where I am filled to capacity... and then, when I can no longer carry the burden or hold another drop of emotion, the tears fall like rain until I am empty.
It seems that as I have passed through each learning phase of my life, I have been like a cloud formation - changing slowly, almost imperceptibly, into different shapes and forms depending on which way the wind was blowing. It often happens so slowly that before you know it I have become a person who is completely different than I was to begin with.
However, no matter the state I'm in, there is usually a silver lining if I'm just willing to find it.
And just as I am mesmerized by watching the clouds and the way they change and morph depending on the atmosphere around them, I enjoy watching people as they do the same. No two are alike - each is unique in its color and form and structure, and that is what makes each one fascinating.