For most of my early life clouds were a far away feature, a distant part of the sky. I grew up in the middle of England with no mountains around me and hills only maybe a hundred metres tall. I’d look up and there would be clouds but I had no concept of how high they were or what they consisted of. They just were. Sometimes there would be fog or mist, but that was something different, a different feature of the weather.
The height of clouds was one of the first things that struck me when I moved to Geneva. Driving out from the city towards CERN the Jura lie ahead, not massive mountains for the region but bigger than anything I’d ever been used to. It was immediately obvious if the clouds were a certain height, they’d cut off the tops of the hills. That was a revelation to me. Suddenly clouds were not a remote part of the world above me but right there, interacting with my physical world.
Of course after a while this becomes normality and sight of the cloud shrouded Jura was something I barely acknowledged. It doesn’t seem to take too long to become accustomed to something, to adjust to a new normality. Then, when I moved back to England, eventually the sight of clouds covering hills faded to a distant memory…
Until the other week when the tops of the cooling towers of the power station I drive past every day were cloaked in low cloud. It made me think of the Jura, made me think of the clouds, made me think of the times when I’ve been up mountains with clouds below me. It sparked a little moment of wonder within me, a moment when I really appreciated the world around me and I actually looked at the clouds rather than take them for granted.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could turn on those moments of wonder more frequently and look at the world around us afresh? Perhaps I need to be a little more observant and those moments might come more frequently.