Clouds and Storms and Summer Peace

Thunder clouds. When I lived on the West Coast, I missed them. Thunder storms are so rare there, and when they have them they’re more grumbly than fierce.

They’re full of danger, I know that. Lightning starts fires. Right now, there are fires all over the Plains.

But the drama is captivating. The Winds and the Rains come, and if you’re lucky, they blow away the hot humid air that is their harbinger.

There’s something incredible about sitting on a porch deep enough to shelter you, watching a storm blow through.

My mother was an artist. She painted landscapes. For years there were patches of deep color on her paintings that I didn’t understand. And then I was driving in Vermont one day, and I saw what she saw. And now I can see it everywhere, but before then I couldn’t understand.

We need to look at clouds from many different angles, both sides as we’re reminded in the song… Look at them from airplanes, look at them from the ground, look at them from their shadows. That’s how we need to look at Peace, exhaustively, but with great delight! And perhaps with a great deal of wariness. Peace will bring great changes. I like the the possibilities of Peace much more than those of war. There are war clouds on the horizon. It frightens me.

Peaceful Country Drives

We didn’t do a lot, when I was growing up, but it was definitely a thing. On Saturday or a Sunday, you’d get in the car and drive and see things. You’d get out, walk around, take a good look, (if there were a stream dip some part of your body in), and get back in the car.

Some people had families they paid a visit to; our family lived far apart. We had falls and lakes and creeks. This barn would have pleased us… our family was a large admirer of barns. We were big on clouds as well. “will you look at that… ” I’m sure I’ve written this before, but one of my parents’ nurse companions said she’d never noticed the clouds before working for Betty and Sam!

Barns were another thing. My brother-in-law, after a joint trip with my parents, wondered if for the rest of his lives he was going to have to admire (expletive) barns in fields? Because he couldn’t quite see the romance. Philistine!

I think family drives were one of the ways I learned to see and be connected to Nature. I am not an outside girl by choice. waaaah, can’t i bring a book? but I am a used to looking at, admiring, and remarking upon Nature, her composition and her Beauty. I know that I’m back in the Susquehanna Valley because I missed the beautiful grey limestone, the forests, and the streams. Stream swimming is not a thing in the dry West.

Peace in my case is found (not exclusively, but still) in familiar Beauty. Other Beauty calls for admiration, but a beautiful barn in Central PA on a sunny day can make my heart sing.

Peace of the Beautiful Barn, y’all! And at last of a sunny day!


Finding the Cloud Peace

I work hard to find the Peace in the little things. I believe, full-heartedly, in the importance of paying attention to the little places that we can see what’s beautiful and maybe even mend what’s broken in small and fixable ways.

But I’m not merely concerned with the little Peace of Life, celebrate it as i do.

I’m concerned about Big Peace. It has been noted that there are fewer wars in the world now than ever before. But the manner of delivering war has been perfected. And I worry that we entering a nuclear cold war era again.

I don’t want us to look at beautiful thunder clouds and start talking about clouds of war. I want us to think about becoming Clouds of Peace, stretching across the sky, watering Peace gardens and justice movements. Let us be Clouds of Beauty. Clouds of Hope. Clouds of Justice. Clouds of Peace.

We must become tireless advocates for Peace. Peace needs us… and all the people of the world need each other. Let us Peace.

Clouds: Their Omens, Their Peace

Clouds are so beautiful. My mother painted clouds often. As a family they were a road trip’s enjoyment.

But they are also often harbingers of things to come. Storms, for instance.

Right now the clouds are lying low… it poured yesterday. It will do so again.

The clouds of War seem to be gathering on the horizon. That’s frightening.

But clouds are things of great beauty. How do we reclaim the clouds for Peace? How do we claim the world for Peace.

Clouds and Ripples and Peace

Drop a dream into water and let it ripple out into Peace.

Every time I look at this picture, I realize how much more wonderful it is than I first thought; how much stronger.

I didn’t see the cloud in the center of the ripple at first. But to let that cloud, that piece of dreams, a piece of Peace, ripple out into the world… Beauty!

What if we allowed the softness of the world to touch our lives? What if we allowed ourselves to be the softness of the world?

Clouds, ripples, Peace… this shows the connection… Let us be the clouds of dreams, let us be the ripples of Peace.


Making Peace with the Coming of Weather

I come, as I’m sure I’ve told you, from a family of cloud watchers. Time was I could tell you each and every name. Now I just pause in admiration.

But I always thought it was magical to see a storm contained in a cloud moving across the landscape. Apparently I’m not the only one. Here’s what my friend Barbara had to say. (If we’re lucky, we’ll see her photos next year.) Beautiful words… can’t you see it coming in?

“Reminded me of when we lived in the country. Our house was up on the mountain above the UPS on route 11. We were part way up the ridge, with the back of the house in the middle of a field, facing the woods and the woods continued up the rest of the ridge. We could see the weather come over the mountain. Usually storms came from the northwest edge of the natural bowl we lived in. The woods were loaded with silver leaf maples. We could stand at the back of our driveway and watch the storms come over the mountain. First the sky would get dark as the clouds came over the ridge, then as the wind began to blow, the trees offered the silver under bellies of the leaves. It was like watching ocean waves as the wind caused waves of silver washing from the  northwest, across the trees…across the mountain.

First we could hear the thunder, see the lightening.

Next we could see the wind as the branches blew revealing the leaves’ silver. Waves of silver moving west to east. Thunder, lightening, dark clouds, leaves blowing. We could hear the rustling of the leaves as the wind and rain moved over the mountain and across the tree line always west to east.

Excitement would increase as the rustling, the silver waves got closer. We could watch the rain line moving towards us as more silver revealed itself.  The rustling got louder, the darkness filled the sky…wave upon wave of silver leaves spread from the western edge of the tree line to the trees directly behind us. we could feel the wind, feel the energy of the storm but we didn’t want to go in, to leave the intensifying excitement of the approaching storm.  Finally as the wave of silver passed us, sheets of rain fell and we would retreat to the safety of our home.

Summer afternoons and evenings brought thunderstorms. In our corner of Northumberland county they brought waves of silver, waves of beauty and waves of excitement.”

Peace my friends, Peace of the silver storms to you.


Look Up for Peace

The skies are filled with Beauty.

Recently, people have been filled with complaints about the grey skies — and haven’t bothered to look and be astounded.

Sometimes the grey blows in and just hangs there. But often the clouds shift, part, close, open. Amazing things are happening right above you. Free of charge. Enjoy!

And sometimes they part and light spills down in a water fall.

The other night around sunset, this happened and the spill of light was completely rainbow colored. It was gorgeous!

Peace, falling out of the clouds in so many colors. People look up!


Shadows and Peace

We live in a world dominated by fear. Maybe that’s always so. Maybe because I came up in the generation I did, graduating college in the mid-70s, there was the thought that things could change — and would keep on changing.

I guess they did, but the clouds above aren’t big and white and fluffy, hopeful sort of clouds, they are grey and low-hanging. They are clouds of fear and hate.

I’m astonished by the hate. I realize I’m hopelessly naive about the hate and the fear. Between my family, my religious up-bringing, my year abroad as a Rotary Exchange Student, and my tiny, little women’s college attended in the 70s, I really thought we had the blues on the run. I’ve seen hope triumph and assumed it triumphed forever. It didn’t.

The stupid, hateful fear-mongering that is going on now, the casual disregard for one another’s humanity is horrifying to me. And it’s so big. Hard to know where to enter the fight.

As always it comes back to our choices. We can’t give up on the macro level, we have to participate. I do best working here at home with like minded people. Tiny little acts of love and courage. But we cannot be out of touch with those who do the other work. They are our neighbors too. We can help them keep believing that there are reasons for Hope, that change is possible. We must feed and nourish their souls even as we struggle to find ways to feed and nourish the people of our towns and cities and countrysides.

Under threatening skies, let us build shelters for our neighbors and ourselves. Let us build enclaves of Hope and Beauty, Art and Commerce. Let us understand that storms pass, because they do, however horrible they are in the meantime. But in the storms, we can be the light and the hope. We can push back the hate.

If we believe in Peace, we must do so.

I believe in Peace.