Monday, July 13, 2015

Word of the Week - 71

Cloud-painted ceiling.
Word of the Week:  CLOUDY

“Sunshine dulls the mind to risk and thoughtfulness.”

The brilliant and indefatigable Maria Popova of Brain Pickings shared why cloudy days help us think more clearly.  She also shares other cloud-inspired articles here and here.

I have my own anecdotal experience of clear skies vs. cloudy skies, nothing to do with cognitive improvement, or maybe it is, but very much to do with a sense of comfort and safety.  In a lengthy period of slow recovery from pneumonia resulting in chronic respiratory infections and a diagnosis of chronic fatigue, I found that an overcast sky gave me a feeling of being enfolded, wrapped in what seemed a vast security blanket.  I only noticed this when blue skies appeared, wide open, without limit, infinite, and how exposed and unsafe I felt.

How long it took to shake this dread of unobscured blue skies I can't recall, possibly a couple years.  It was a sense of there being nothing between me and everything, between me and distant planets, the unknown reaches of space, the void.  Cloudy brought comfort, as though someone had wisely thought to close the wide-open doors.

In thinking of this some twenty years after the fact, gray skies felt like permission to huddle and hunker, to go slowly, really, to hide.  With clear, open skies came a feeling of expectation for which I wasn't ready.  I still needed the cave, the small space in which I could touch all the walls.  A sky that went on forever was too frightening.  I remembered the nurse showing me how to wrap my newborn son tightly in his flannel blanket, saying babies felt unsafe when their limbs were allowed to wave about.  For a time, knowing those blue skies reached into an unrestricted universe was more than I could bear.

I have come to love watching the sky from my second-floor windows, its drifting clouds, thick muffling of fog or, as today, limitlessness.  Los Angeles is no place for a blue-sky phobia. 


Radish King said...

Yes. I am very aware that it's one of the main reasons I love this city so damned much. Also, for you (the comma too)

Home, home, I'm deranged

You're welcome
love you

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Thank you. It sure is good to know I have your company is "this." What made me write of it I can't begin to guess. The planets turn and we are but pawns. Home, home, no kidding. And a comma, too. Love you, Dear Radish. xo

Kass said...

I love this cozy feeling you have described in relation to clouds.

I do not care for Cerulean Blue and so I have trouble with most skies. My favorite skyview is deep, dark, dense, purple clouds and mountains (or hills) against thick, rich, green, vegetative growth of any kind.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. What you describe sounds so beautiful, so ideal. Even as I have again become comfortable with Cerulean Blue, I will always love a stormy sky, probably the modified sort we have in Southern California as opposed to the kinds from which tornadoes emerge. Thunderheads are my favorites. xo

beth coyote said...

Oh yes, I feel the same way about cloudless skies. I feel myself when it is cloudy and rainy. Our Seattle heatwave is unsettling, to say the least.

If you read The Sun, please enjoy this month's interview. It is astounding.

X Beth

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - So happy to see you here. Yesterday we awoke to thunder and low skies. Light rain came soon after. You're right, I am altered by the sky. Rain has always made me calm. Is that ions? And no, I don't read The Sun and in Googling, was not sure how to find what I wanted. I can send you a note on FB for additional information, and thank you. xo