Cold Clouds

You’d think that being laid up in bed would offer heaps of opportunity to read, read, read. Wrong, at least this time, and at least when it came to the written word. In lieu of books, my brain was only aware and ambitious enough over the past few days to interpret the sky outside my window– and an interesting view it was.

By Uragami Gyokudo, on Wikimedia Commons

By Uragami Gyokudo, on Wikimedia

I knew that that ever-adaptable compound, H2O, behaves differently according to varying environmental factors– but was still charmed to see what happened on a frigid morning to the steam being emitted from the surrounding buildings’ heating and cooling systems. Almost immediately after a puff of smoke rose up over a roof, which often meant below my own high-rise’s window, that cloud of condensation would hover, compact and immobile, for a good while before rising ever so slowly and dispersing much more hesitantly than such a form would have under less punishing conditions. It was almost as if the quick-freezing particles didn’t know how to react; protocol had disappeared for this breed of water, so used to carrying out its professional routine in a certain way, and the only thing it could do was halt in shocked confusion.

There was also something vaguely menacing about seeing a packed cloud just floating there, heavy in a way and almost looking right at– maybe through– you, as if it were considering invading your home. The threat, of course, came from the fact that things were visibly not acting as I was used to seeing them act– which in turn made me consider why some sorts of change and/or surprise carry with them the hint of danger, instead of something more positive. I came to no conclusion, of course, but did place this experience in the same category as last year’s realization that, yes, freezing fog is an actual thing– a category that includes as one of its qualifying characteristics a combination of beauty and a bit of foreboding– or maybe even evident beauty because a grain of terror is also present.

But then my non-optimal-health brain kicked in, told me I was taxing it too much, and that sleep was becoming imperative. We’ll see what happens the next time I have the leisure, and hopefully full capacity, to observe such a phenomenon.




  1. birds fly

    I like this. Maybe write more when you’re feeling under the weather (and/or, as also in this case, above it)? Which reminds me, have you read Virginia Woolf’s essay On Being Ill?


    • Special K

      Thank you!! I’ve not read that essay; I feel I’ve only scratched the surface of her work– and among other things, need to go back and read To the Lighthouse, as I was a useless teenager when I read it (my first written exposure to Woolf, after having watched Orlando).

      Were there seven of me, one of them would be a meteorologist– although probably shunned by my colleagues, since I read far too much spiritual and/or anthropological sense into weather and its related effects. (How can one not ascribe personality to a tornado, for example?)


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