I was riding in an airplane recently, flying from Kentucky to Los Angeles. I had a three hour layover in the Las Vegas airport, which I spent reading about the correlation between value and momentum factors, as one does.
When I got on the flight, the final flight of my very short trip, I had been traveling for many hours. I was tired. Truthfully, I was sick of momentum and value factor correlations. My boarding number was A50, so I got to board early (it’s the little things) and was able to get a window seat (my favorite).
I love Las Vegas. I think it’s a beautiful city, from afar. I like window seats, because they let you see the world. I like to look out, and admire our Earth from thousands of feet above. The Las Vegas skyline was sparkly and bright.
We didn’t go too high in the air because Las Vegas is so close to Los Angeles. I was able to see the Earth for a whole hour and a half. Never have I watched our planet for that long. It was such a treat.
It makes you think about so many things. I thought about friendships, ones that worked, and ones that didn’t. Where were these friends on Earth now? What were they looking at?
I thought about how special the Planet is. How She sustains us, even when we are so cruel to her. How intricate our solar system is, and how the Sun rises each and every day, and sometimes, we don’t even thank her.
We just expect the sun to continue to rise. And to set. And to repeat.
We expect the life that we live to continue in the way that we want it to. We expect our paths to be paved, lined with flowers, the grass on either side perfectly trimmed. Or at least I do. I expect perfection, and often find myself clipping at grass blades with scissors, just to make sure that they are all the same length.
Not the best use of one’s time, if you ask me.
I was thinking about perfection when I glanced out the window. My eyes were unfocused, thinking more about looking, rather than seeing.
I caught a glimpse of the clouds from the airplane window.
They were so large, so fluffy. When I was younger, I was obsessed with clouds. I used to send pictures of them to a boy I liked, and describe to him what I thought they looked like. What shapes they were. Cats. Macaroni. A sea creature fighting an octopus. I used to send him pictures of the sunrise too.
That was many years ago. Along the way, I forgot to look at the clouds, and appreciate them for their beauty.
It’s easy to get angry at clouds. They can darken our day, literally. We curse when it rains, complaining of our shoes getting wet and the grass being soggy. Many family picnics, baseball games, and mountain bike rides have been dictated by the clouds.
Here I was above the clouds, in this airplane.
Here, riding along in this massive machine, going thousands of miles per hour, riding to my home in Los Angeles, planning dinner and my next day and the day after that and the day after that and the month after that.
I am planning planning planning, but never pausing.
And I had the whole world flying beneath me.
I paused, on that airplane. I looked at the clouds, and smiled. They looked like actual cotton balls, floating alongside me. I could have climbed inside of one and gotten lost.
We flew in and out of the clouds, and I caught glimpses of the cities below. It was too dark on the ground to see that it was cloudy up above. It was like everyone on this airplane was getting a special show, because we were here, flying late at night, trying to get where we were going.
The clouds were there to remind us. To remind us that we can always be going. We are always going. The path is long, and sure, there can be flowers and trimmed grass, and maybe that makes the path nicer.
But as we go, we must remember why we go. How we go. Where we go, because our paths are not one line towards the end. They will zig and they will zag, and yes, there will be cloudy days where the sun is blocked for days, maybe even months.
We must learn to appreciate the clouds. We must not see them as something that ruins our day, but rather, allows us to see it differently. Perhaps they cast a shadow on our path, but it’s only temporary.
These clouds are only temporary. They will reform and reshape and fall down to Earth in the form of raindrops, and those raindrops will soak into the ground, and grow flowers and trees.
These are not just clouds.
They themselves are beauty, and that beauty will be transformed into life. It is so easy to take this everyday beauty for granted. To forget how our Earth sustains our vitality, how the smallest buds burst into radiant flowers and how the tiniest saplings one day become the fiercest trees. All from the clouds.
Never forget the beauty of the clouds.