At the tail end of last week, I finally had a chance to read an article I'd seen circulating the internet about a man named Gavin Pretor-Pinney—"The Amateur Cloud Society That (Sort Of) Rattled the Scientific Community" by Jon Mooallem—and it sent me down a rabbit hole of research and reading about his obsession with clouds.
Clouds. It was a bizarre preoccupation, perhaps even a frivolous one, but he didn’t resist it. He went with it, as he often does, despite not having a specific goal or even a general direction in mind; he likes to see where things go.
Sometimes, I try to push my wondering in a specific direction; I look too hard for meaning and I see nothing much. I bet this happens to you, too.
Other times, all I have to do is notice...and things worth noticing seem to materialize.
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that #regardthesky is a tag I use on many of my posts, and the reason is that I'm looking up a lot...and very often taking pictures of what I see when I do. I wasn't always sky-aware, but once I got antsy enough for change in my life—and this was just a couple of years ago—I began looking for clues in my surroundings, looking for simple magic, looking for things that seemed bigger than me and my stuck-ness and the circumstances that didn't seem like they'd ever change.
Slowing down to appreciate clouds enriched his life and sharpened his ability to appreciate other pockets of beauty hiding in plain sight. [...] His fascination with clouds was teaching him that “it’s much better for our souls to realize we can be amazed and delighted by what’s around us.”
Nowadays, I can't not notice the sky. What I see when I look up fascinates me every single day. I could run my eyes along the outlines of clouds for hours.
From a second article about the cloud enthusiast, A Guide to Entice Heads Into the Clouds by Cornelia Dean:
As Mr. Pretor-Pinney sees it, you don’t have to possess something to collect it: “You just have to notice it and record it.”
Quit straining and just look.
Don't look for anything.
Keep your eyes open. Regard everything.
What are you noticing? What are you collecting?
Notes from the week of June 26
+ a car carrier trailer speeding down the highway & dragging a bit of chain made sounds so musical, we thought it came from our car radio
+ a goguma, or sweet potato, latte