I’m at the laundry mat writing this, sitting on the cool tile floor next to a large window as the sun streams in as if it were springtime and not December in the mountains. My laundry sits in the spin cycle among the rows of washing machines. Just outside there is a picnic bench and I sat atop it for 10 or 15 minutes just before coming inside to write. I sat and enjoyed the day. I enjoyed the sun’s warmth on my face, the shadows of clouds moving across the mountain sides, the gentle breeze combing through my hair. How rare an occurrence to sit and enjoy, simply to sit and enjoy. A lost art perhaps.
While sitting outside a car passed by and its wet crackling tires on the road suddenly transported me to my childhood. I grew up on the east coast and frequently went down the shore. And usually during the summer I would visit Rehobeth Beach in Delaware with my grandparents and stay in a campground in their trailer, usually with a cousin or two. They would always bring a couple of bikes along and usually in the morning when the sun was still gearing up for its hottest display my cousins and I would bike around the sandy campground, which was right by an inlet and prime beach spot. The thin rubber bike tires rolling over the sandy ground were a comforting and familiar sound, the sound of summer. And with one passing car I was briefly taken to that campground, slowly pedaling around with nowhere to go and everything to enjoy.
When I was sitting outside soaking in the surroundings I was struck by how quickly the sun can be surpassed by a cloud. Suddenly the bright day went gray and the beaming sun was subdued. But it was only a little bitty cloud that passed by. A baby cloud drifting through the sky sunk the sun into darkness. It reminded me how quickly our own light can be covered over. How fast our own joy is dampened by an external factor, how much we rely on external factors to create our happiness in the first place.
We can learn much from the clouds. They pass over the sun and then keep traveling. They don’t stick around for long. Even if it is a still day soon the clouds will pass overhead. We have a tendency to get stuck, to cloud over our own light and stay darkened by its shadow, by our own attachments and spinning stories. Feelings, struggles, strong emotions, and challenges come and go like clouds in the sky, they are not permanent walls of stone unless we construct them as such. Let us step out from behind the clouds of impermanence and shine our lights bright and strong and free.