When I was young, my mother used to say (lovingly) when she or someone else tried unsuccessfully to pull my attention away from whatever I was reading or writing or drawing, Oh that Christy, always with her head in the clouds.
Before I was ever responsible for anything but following my own imagination, I could get so lost in a book or my own thoughts that it really was as though I’d foiled reality’s gravitational pull and could float among the clouds of words and stories and ideas in a suspended state, tethered only vaguely to the real world by the faint sound of my mother’s voice. When I finally did return from wherever I’d been, it was always with the sense of having traveled a great distance; I was usually a little disoriented by re-entry, jet-lagged.
It still happens sometimes, but not usually. The sound of my children’s voices is a stronger leash; I can’t let myself drift up and skim the clouds while the kids dance around me in circles, demanding my attention for themselves. Now when I read or write, I have to hope that whatever is up there will come down to me.
But ask any of my friends or family and they will tell you that my head is still in the clouds. “Look up,” I tell them. Look at that apocalyptic cumulonimbus. Or those cirrus whispers so far away. Look at the sunset. The sunrise. And I take pictures of them—dozens, hundreds—as though they were newborns or ghosts. All so beautiful and complex.
Maybe I do so because it reminds me of my old flying days—my pre-airplane flying days—when I was still young enough and free enough to swirl among them unencumbered.