Looking Up: stay present

As I stuck my head out the back door the other morning, I looked up and it dawned on me. Like my thoughts, the sky during the day is always changing. Light and colours and clouds shift. They connect me to our planet’s atmosphere.

My mind gets up and away. “Will it be a fine day or not? Will we get rain?” I grew up with the oft quoted “Red in the morning shepherds’ warning. Red at night, shepherds’ delight.”

Here come some Scottish rain clouds. In the Tropics, you can smell rain before it falls.

Bute shower

Not everyone heeds a warning!

Coogee, NSW.

What I see often stops me in my tracks. What made the clouds this shape? Was it wind, the temperature, or a frothy sea? I slow down and wonder.

Classic morning sky in Qld

What is that! Why is that cloud different? Is it a fishbone? A surf break in the sky?

There’s a different sky show every day and I day-dream as I see patterns in the clouds. Writer Bryce Courtney believed day-dreaming is essential … that a soaring imagination is the glue that keeps our soul from shattering under the impact of a prosaic world.

A TED talk by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society also explains how important this kind of aimless activity is … to just be present and slow down. Check out more images of clouds there!

A elephant … a woman reading above Stradbroke Is.
How low can you go? Frosty morning, Loch Tay

Wherever you are, just look up and see what you can see.

Phoenix – an omen or a promise?

Cautionary tales about ‘the sky falling’ are often told to children in several cultures. There’s also a giant called Swallower of Clouds from the First Nations – Zuni people. This one’s for us.

Might the Sky Fall today?

One cloudy day, an elephant almost trod upon a humming-bird las it lay in the middle of the track, feet in the air.

 “Watch where you’re going!” called the tiny bird. “I’m down here!”

“Doing what?” asked the elephant, looking around.

“Haven’t you heard? Animals round here are worried that today the sky might fall in!

The elephant flapped its ears and muttered, “You can’t do much with those skinny legs!”

“True,” replied the bird. “I decided to do what I can.”

The elephant stepped back … and soon, it was lying beside the hummingbird, feet in the air, ready to hold up the sky and noticed the clouds

Adapted from a fable from China “Holding Up the Sky” in MacDonald, Margaret Read, Three Minute Tales: Stories around the world to tell or read when time is short. Little Rock, August House, 2004: 145.

Tell a story … why don’t you!

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All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.

Other Sources

COURTNEY, Bryce. A Recipe for Dreaming. Ringwood, Vic., Viking/Penguin Books Australia, 1998:i-ii.

For more information on the Cloud Appreciation Society – See Founder of the society Gavin Pretor – Pinney, Gavin give a TED talk. Cloudy with a Chance of Joy. Youtube. 2013. (Downloaded 24 Dec 2020.)

Still Favourites: Weekly Photo Challenge

Some of this year’s photos I didn’t post and still like –

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Young artist sketching the guitarist on stage.

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Is it a bird, is it a plane …? IMG_4005

Unwinding.

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Here’s looking at you, kid!

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And another year comes round again! So lucky!

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2017 Favorites

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and also Copyright © under Australian Law.

Graceful Nature: Weekly Photo Challenge

When I wonder about ‘graceful,’ images of dreamy movement and soft curves come to mind.

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Sometimes graceful movement is so fast – like a butterfly. I have to follow till it rests. Standing very still, I hold my breath and ‘click.’

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Other times, a curve catches my eye. As I stare, I sense some infinitesimal movement within … an unfolding.

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and then … there’s my own, walking times, when what I see makes me feel infinitesimal … and my heart leaps!

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Sometimes I go about pitying myself, And all the while I am being carried across the sky by beautiful clouds. (Ojibway poem)

Here’s another graceful image from a story that I tell –

Out in the cattle kraal, a silver cord descended from high in an African night sky, down, down … to its dusty centre. By the light of the moon, a crouching man keeping watch behind the thorn-bush fence, saw his black and white, speckled cattle move apart. Hearing singing, he looked up and there, round the shining cord, he spied a line of beautiful women floating down, one after the other. Singing softly, they spiralled down till they touched the ground. All wore wondrous clothes and ornaments which flickered in the moonlight and carried a calabash held against one hip. Then they walked silently, gracefully, to an animal and murmured soothingly as they sat. Sing together again, they steadily milked his black and white cows.

As a child, Laurens van der Post was told this story about women of the sky by a black woman –servant. It’s on pages 132-4 of his book “ The Heart of the Hunter.” If you want to hear my version of the whole story, you’ll have to come to Storytelling Unplugged: the Meetup group I organise, next first Friday of the month!

Graceful

All text (except those in italics) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License