There’s a local photographer who posts on social media, generally daily. Most of the time his photos make me gnaw out my liver with absolute envy; they’re well-composed, full of color and watery reflections of color as well as iconic representations of Red Wing, and in those rare instances when his photos don’t make me jealous, I’m studying them feverishly to learn the difference between a great photo and one that’s merely decent. Today he posted that he was sorry he’d offered no recent shots since it was soooo gloomy out.
The thing is, even on a gloomy day, there’s something to see and take pictures of. Not as eye-catching and heart-stopping beautiful as colorful sunrises above the river, true, but pretty stuff nonetheless. Today, impressive dark clouds were moving through the valley, low and slow and foreboding. On the river side of the Bluff, the skies were still grey, but light and thin, almost featureless in their pale glow high above the earth.
The two sides met along the line of the Bluff, swirling and mixing – and unfortunately not photographing very well with the settings I was using. Today was more a moment to stand and appreciate, though, watching the shifting patterns in the clouds. Did you know you can all but lose your sense of place and time, just appreciating a sight like that? Sometimes it can almost be as if the skies are speaking, and you can understand what they’re saying if you can just listen closely enough…
Maybe that’s too animist for you. That’s okay. Even without a spiritual interpretation, you should still try cloudwatching on a day where storm is possible, even likely; when the clouds are dark and forbidding, low and slow-moving and sullen, but mixed with the pale ghostly glow of the high clouds, racing and pushing in a different direction from the lower layer… and allow yourself to lose your sense of time and place in the gloomy beauty overhead.