I always choose the window seat when I fly. I’ve seen some awesome sunsets from up there, and some amazing cloudscapes. I love the moment when the plane pushes through and up and above a mass of cumulus, coming suddenly into sun light and space.
I’m fascinated by clouds. Puffy cumulus, ominous thunderheads, wispy little cirro-stratus high above everything else. It doesn’t seem to matter how stormy and dark it is, the clouds look serene and beautiful and soft. Even the thunderheads, when you get a streak of sunshine through them, look heavenly enough for an oil painting with cherubs.
But clouds aren’t peaceful. They form when warm, wet air pushes up into the cold, where the water condenses. They aren’t still. The hot air pushes up, expands and cools until it is the same temperature as the cool air around it – it reaches equilibrium, but it doesn’t stop moving. Some of the air may cool further, and fall. More warm air will be rising up underneath – nothing is still. Those soft puffy clouds are the visible manifestation of a whole bunch of climatic turmoil.
If you’ve ever been on a plane when it’s pushed through a layer of cumulonimbus, you’ll know what I mean. There’s always turbulence, if only for a second. Then you’re above it, looking down on the seemingly peaceful cloudscape, wondering what all the bumping was about.
I’m feeling cloudlike. I’ve been all over the shop, emotionally. By turns enthusiastic, effusive and optimistic or melodramatically unhappy. Now suddenly I’ve pushed through and with some perspective I move serenely in the sunlight. Underneath, things are churning away, I can feel it. The humidity is changing. Perhaps a massive cleansing storm, or a sunshower replete with rainbows. Either way, I’m waiting impatiently to see what tomorrow holds.