When I was a little girl, my TV only got in three channels all kind of fuzzy and most of the programs were for grown-ups. I never even heard of video games, and computers were as big as my whole downstairs. I knew that ’cause I read about it in my Weekly Reader. I spent most of my free time reading or outside. That’s how I learned to like clouds so much.
Mom could see stuff in clouds. She said when she was a little girl, she and her brothers flew kites and made up stories about the dogs, and cats, and dragons and snakes they saw in the clouds. She said to me, “See the walrus up there?”
“Where?” I looked up at the sky, with enough blue to make a pair of britches. That’s what I cared about, ’cause that meant it was going to be nice all day.
“Right there. See the grey body and the white head, and up near the top; see the giant tusks coming out of his face,” she stooped down, her dress, parachuting out all around her, making her legs disappear. She took my hand in hers and pointed it up at a big gray and white cloud. Mom sure looked pretty with her head tipped back looking up at the sky. I could almost imagine what she looked like out there flying kites with Uncle Ken and Uncle Gene. She had a sister, too, but Aunt Annie was born way later than anyone else, so Mom was like an only daughter, so she had to do all the work that me and my five sister did. Mom thought boys would be working all their grown-up life, so there was no sense in making them work much when they were little. One time I asked her what she thought I’d be doing all day when I grew up, if I wasn’t going to do any work.
“That’s different,” she said. “Girls don’t do hard work.” That scared me a tinsy bit, ’cause in my mind I already did tons of hard work, so the boys for sure were in for some kind of work like the seven dwarfs did. I hoped my brothers learned how to whistle and sing, otherwise there was a world of misery ahead of those boys.
Anyways, I never saw many animals in the sky. Mostly I saw moods. I hated to see the stratus clouds. They were sad, droopy clouds, making it rain all day, and then get chilly. Those clouds could last for days on end, until I thought sunshine was never coming back. Those clouds made me feel hopeless with all that drizzly, cold dampness seeping into my bones until my whole self felt sad. I started to miss weeding the garden and picking vegetables, that’s how sad those clouds made me feel.
Cirrus clouds made the sky look like God took some of Mom’s Glass-Wax, and wiped in on the sky, then forgot to rub it off again. Or maybe He had his own design that I knew nothing about. Father was always saying in church that God’s design is a mystery to us.
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Cumulus clouds went floating along, white and fluffy, with a thick layer of gray right at the very bottom; the sky looked like there was a shelf way up there high above the trees and below the sun, so the clouds rested on the shelf like huge piles of soft, billowy cotton. Maybe there were angels sitting on some of those clouds, just peeking out from behind, keeping themselves hidden from me.
Sometimes a wind kicked up and blew the cumulus clouds together into dark, rumbly storm clouds. That was the very best.My friend Connie said thunder was the angels bowling in the sky, but I knew that was just a story. Connie said that thunder was the sound of the lightning that God was throwing around. I knew thunder was just just sound that got disconnected from the lightning ’cause sound travels slower than light. God threw the lightning around, so the beans would grow. Everybody knows that. It’s so beautiful and exciting, just as an extra bonus t to delight us people down here on earth.
My favorite kind of clouds were after a storm, when the cumulus clouds separate and go all blue-white again, and if I was super-lucky I saw rays of sunshine coming down from heaven, just like after the 40 days and 40 nights of rain that Noah had to put up with. Noah’s clouds were probably stratus clouds, since the rain latest so long. I bet he was so happy to see those rays of sun, he didn’t even care how much work he had ahead of him.
Between school and church, and my good imagination, I knew everything there was to know about clouds. Nowadays, G-Money looks up at the clouds and says, “Do you see that gorilla up there?”
“Where?” I say, and I think of Mom and her two brothers.
“Right there, see the big belly and above that the head, his protruding forehead.”
“Do you see God shining down over there?” I say pointing to rays of sunshine piercing the clouds.
“Umm…hmmm… We both say and his hand slips around mine.