Saturday, April 07, 2012

On, In, and Around Mondays: Reclaiming the Practice of Cloud-Reading

Daffodil in Ruffled Dress

"How *do* you do it?" she emailed, with a little wink.

My friend was referring to a photo of one thing that suggested the shape of another.


I loved her question, because it made me ask... how can this happen more, and purposefully?

Thinking back on my camera travels for the week, I answered her, "Maybe we can reclaim that childhood practice of reading the clouds."

You remember that, don't you? How you used to lie on your back and find a dragon; a dog eating an ice cream cone; or the ice cream cone alone, melting across the blue?

I realize I am actively doing this with my lens. Rather than simply snapping a "nice picture," I'm spending time with the subject and looking for shapes within shapes. A Georgia O'Keefe practice, I suppose. Suggestive, yes. And, I believe, loving.

Licking the Sky

Kissing Bud

This practice can be for the writer too. It helps develop a way of seeing. And before we know it, we aren't just reading the clouds, we're writing the dragon-clouds too.


On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

On In Around button

This post is also shared with Laura Boggess, for...

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Blogger Maureen said...

A bouquet of pink fingertips
. . . and she imagines

how each, one after the other
down her back, warms and curls

her once-too quiet heart
into a full embrace.

11:42 AM  
Blogger S. Etole said...

What a delightful poem Maureen has written to accompany your beautiful photos.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous Lyn Cooke said...

Laura, I loved this post. I had an art teacher once who told me to "develop my eye" and I would be a better artist. We just need to see.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Bradley J Moore said...

Yes, like I always remember the Joni Mitchell song... She was a writer, poet, artist. We could all use a little childhood reminiscing now and then. (although I started somewhat of a Rorsach thing going with your photos!)

7:54 PM  
Blogger lynnmosher said...

I loved this, Laura! I think I'll "cloud watch" more often! Hope you have a very blessed Easter!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Megan Willome said...

So, I bought a camera. First time. I'm terrified, but you inspire me.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Beautiful photos!

10:02 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

Beautiful photos! Thanks for your care in choosing words!

A blessed Eastertide to you!

11:17 PM  
Blogger Joe Pote said...

I love how you describe this as "cloud reading."

So much of my writing is focused on exactly that. Trying to find a way to show the reader a familiar truth from a new perspective. A truth within a truth...a shape within a shape...

It is not an easy thing to accomplish, but is so cool when it clicks!

6:35 AM  
Blogger Theresa Miller said...

I love this picture you paint with your words. Inspiring and beautiful!

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Michelle Eichner said...

There's a great book called "It Looked Like Spilled Milk" you should read. :-) It's a kids' book, but you'll love it. We love playing the cloud watching game as a family.
:-) Michelle

8:46 AM  
Anonymous kendal said...

your photos are beautiful. i wish i had that eye....

9:15 AM  
Blogger Lisa notes... said...

Reading and writing the clouds. Yes. That's how I want to do life, not just seeing the physical, the things that aren't lasting but looking for the eternal.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Jean Wise said...

I love the phrase cloud reading. I call it cloud chasing. There are so many lessons all around us if we try to see things are a different angle.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

As a lifelong cloud reader, I just adore this post and your beautiful pictures. Lovely!

2:05 PM  
Anonymous kd sullivan said...

Yes! I want to reclaim this art of cloud reading, and seeing things for the first time.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Laurie Collett said...

Gorgeous photos helping us to gain a new perspective. I recently saw an amazing photo of what appeared to be a caterpillar on a branch -- actually it was a row of about 20 brightly colored birds huddled side-by-side.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

I love cloud art.

And I love my camera. I love how it helps me see.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Nacole said...

ooooh...i have wondered this too-how do you do it? i am mesmerized by what you have written here. i used to love cloud-watching, and the kids and i still do it sometimes. you make me wonder when im snapping if im looking for poetry in shapes too...if im writing this way...i hope so, i really do. love your photos.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Kristin Bridgman said...

I used to cloud read all the time. I think I would like to go lie down in the backyard and do that again:)
My husband is a photographer and he is always saying, it's all about seeing, just not looking. *Some people look but don't see*
I can tell you see:)

5:27 PM  

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