Head in the Clouds



 Its a number that has haunted me, a number that dominates my thoughts 9 months of the year. 294 is the average number of cloudy days in Seattle annually.

I moved to Seattle 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, a state that can boast of 300 days of sunshine a year. I completely under-appreciated those 300 days until I got to the Pacific Northwest and realized that a clear blue sky is not a luxury  enjoyed by all. During my first year in Seattle, I found myself amused by the morning weather forecasts. A meteorologist in Seattle is about the most unnecessary role because 80% of the year the weather is comically predictable. But to keep themselves employed, forecasters have found 101 different ways to say the same thing. Daily weather reports are decorated with descriptions like, “Partly Cloudy,” “Cloudy,” “Drizzle,” “Rain,” “Heavy Rain,” “Showers,” “Sprinkles,” “Marine Layer,” and “Wet Weather.” You know you are in a rainy climate when weather announcers predict the time of day you can expect “Sun Breaks.” If you need a term for when the sun comes out, its not coming out much.

As entertaining as this myriad of rain terms may be, on many occasions I have looked up at the hovering gray clouds and have felt my own happiness being enveloped by their darkness. Their heaviness has just seemed so immensely inescapable at times; until one day I saw those same inescapable clouds as the welcomed escapes of my childhood. It was laying in the grass looking up in those clouds that I imagined what heaven looked like. It was staring at those clouds on long car rides that I laughed with my  brother and pointed out the shapes of squirrels and pigs and castles.

Clouds have long been symbolic of fantasy. Cartoon thought bubbles and movie dreams sequences are usually captured with fluffy clouds. And it makes sense. In reality, clouds do hold the dreams of tomorrow. They give life to every colored flower. The have nurtured every living creature since the beginning of time.  They perch the brilliant colors of a sunset and illuminate the hue of a blue sky.

Now every time I look at a sky, I am struck by the beauty the clouds add to an otherwise monotonous sky. What has changed to transform the grey clouds from the source of my annoyance to the marvel of my daily drives? Nothing…but my perspective of them.

Its amazing how a slight change in perspective can make all the difference. Are you walking around with a gray rain cloud over your head or a thought bubble? What in your life could use a slight change in perspective so the possibilities can shine through?

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein


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