Broken Clouds

There is a field across from the attic. Where I can walk to and sit on old wood bleachers and have an unimpeded view of sky. I call it the cloud field. It’s after sunset, I’ve just returned. After discovering the plains I am so hemmed in now by power lines and houses in a neighbourhood, and no matter how beautiful, trees.

A word seems to be coming up in the collective consciousness. I hear it everywhere – BROKEN. It vibrates and resonates in me. In book titles, movies, the names of songs, in everyday speech. For me it evokes powerful energy. We want to name the poisons and the causes of what weakened and gave way and broke. We want to start the healing.

My friend Tom came over and upgraded and tweaked my computer baby for me, and added the applet “weather conditions” to my desktop panel. When I raised the cursor to the little pictograph these words appeared – broken clouds – and I am completely taken. Enamoured.

Broken. No longer whole. In need of fixing? Or just the way it is now. Changed.

I’m thinking of all the different ways of looking at things and how it can shape your life, depending on how you interpret it. Willie P.’s song, “You think every silver lining has a cloud around it…And every whiskey bottle had my mouth around it.”

Yesterday I stopped in at the jewellery appraiser’s on my way to my walk, and he gave me ten bucks for my broken gold wedding band. I had had it cut off years ago when it no longer fit.
Yesterday my son Joseph proposed with a ring to his beautiful girl Zuzana.
Yesterday my friend Roslyn helped their daughter Erika wrap a gift in pretty paper for her ex-husband’s wedding.

A marriage that needed to be broken. The ten dollars will pay my monthly donation to Amnesty International – Justice, Equality, Freedom.
The circle of love. A ring, the hope in the future of a love that never ends.
The cycle of life continues. A kind giving. The generosity of spirit that transcended the break.

If something breaks in two, three or four, sometimes it is not meant to be whole again. The separate broken pieces are whole unto themselves. We have to break something open, to look at what’s inside, to understand it. Sometimes it’s not a weakness at the break but the strength of something growing too big to be confined.

Break – up, down, through.

I’m reading a book called “Broken * A Love Story,” by Lisa Jones. Lisa travelled to the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, to interview a shaman horse breaker called Stanford Addison. He explained how he took on the sickness in the sweat lodge, with his own body. “I get sick so my medicines can stay clean…It’s like laundering money. Bringing bad money and making it clean.” He takes that on even though he is in a broken body, a quadriplegic suffering the traumas and debilitating illnesses that attend to that.

When I was devastated by the sudden passing of my loved one almost five years ago, these words came unbidden in my mouth, they surfaced in my sleep…the way forward is with a broken heart. I knew it was the title of an Alice Walker book. They swam in my grief, the words in the wrong order until they were put together, and formed that sentence over and over again…the way forward is with a broken heart. I knew them to be true. I hung my very soul on them, a mantra, a prayer, a whisper to myself against defeat while I crawled until I could get on my feet.

There is powerful magic in words. Browsing the shelves in the bookstore, another one leapt out at me, a book by Richard M. Cohen, “Strong At The Broken Places.” Having the wisdom to see the continuity, no matter what shape it takes. We’re moving along, we’re circling around the holes, we have to take detours, nothing is ever or will ever be in a straight line.

The meteorological definition of broken clouds are clouds which cover between 6/10 and 9/10 of the sky. I never knew. And those low broken clouds that are skipping across the sky like white pebbles on a blue pond? SCUD the acronym: scattered cumulus under deck.

There are activists and prophets, poets and healers amongst us, from meteorologists to shamans to teenage rockers, and they have put together words that trigger something primitive and challenging, a call to action. Go find the sky. Meet me at the cloud field. My weather forecast: daylight with probable chance of darkness towards night.

In a book by Pete McCarthy, “McCarthy’s Bar,” he journeyed to Ireland to find out whether he had an honest to goodness pull towards Ireland, he of Irish mother and English father. Was he sucked in by the marketing push for all things Irish, or did he have a true feeling for the place of his childhood summers? He was questioning that feeling, that sense of belonging he felt.

He was told a story that continues to mesmerize me. The Celtic monks wandered Europe and would not settle and make their community until they felt a place calling to them. They called it – seeking their place of resurrection. They believed that if they found their true home, they would be underneath that spot in the firmament that would lead them to heaven.

I don’t know where my home is, except under sky. And with the monks in mind, I will stay under broken clouds.

Good Life

2 Responses to “Broken Clouds”

  1. Cylia says:

    Diane — I am glad you are unbroken, and travelling, moving forward unbidden, gypsy heart. Thinking of you, love, cyl

  2. Harriet says:

    hello old friend,

    there is another song of willie’s that came to mind right away as I read your lines. A song in which the breaks are the bright spots where the sun splashes through. I don’t know of any recording, and he didn’t play it in public much. But he’d smile and play it when now and then I’d ask him for ‘pockets of sunshine’. He was fond of it too. A simple, quiet song made of quiet everyday courage and wisdom. Here’s the bit of it that I carry around with me. Maybe you remember some more of it? Hope you know the tune and can hear it in his voice. The last speaker of Bo died today. Someone who knows this song should keep it alive:

    you’ve got to look for little pockets of sunshine
    on a cloudy day
    so you can better ‘preciate
    the light that you find
    when the clouds roll away

    let ’em roll away
    let ’em roll away

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