Mark Green • We Should Take a Moment to Look Up at the Sky

Mark Green
Mark Green

Recently, amidst the ever-changing North Carolina weather, I found myself looking up at the clouds in wonder. From one side of the horizon to the other stretched a great blanket of rolled, gray cotton moving across the sky like an old Microsoft Windows screensaver. It really was something to behold.

            As a child, I held clouds in wonder. I used to dream up castles floating in the sky, and dragons hiding just behind the white wisps that hung above my head. All I ever wanted to do was to fly with the birds soaring way up high and get as close to those magical lands as I could. Once, I laid out a plan to my Sunday School teacher that I was going to take an airplane up there and land on a cloud; I’d have all sorts of adventures when I did. I quickly learned that clouds don’t work that way, and while I could reach the clouds I yearned for, my imagination couldn’t.

            I’m older now, and I realize I’ve grown to look at the world through a more practical lens than when I was a child. I have more knowledge of how the world works through years of studying and experience. I understand the function of clouds and what different types mean, and, at times, simply let them pass in my peripheral because I know they’re either there or they’re not.

But what happened to me? Why did the knowledge of how the world around me works cause me to stop being impressed with the world I live in?

            It’s almost as if going to school was like going to a magic show where the magician revealed how he pulled the rabbit from his hat. Only, instead of having the magic trick spoiled after the fun, the way nature works is even cooler than I could dream of. Clouds simply form when there’s enough water in the air for it to accumulate. That’s it; that’s the process. Then they float up there because they’re lighter than the air around them, but the average cumulus cloud weighs one billion four hundred pounds!

            These monstrous things hang in the sky, and I ignore them because the magic was lost when I learned how they work. The same goes for most of my life, but if I take a pause from writing this, I can notice that the world is still moving around me. Bees are buzzing around the freshly planted flowers and shrubs in my yard. There’s a mockingbird tending to her nest of eggs in a bush by my walkway. And I can’t see him from my office, but I know that there’s a squirrel still trying to get after the horde of bird seed in the new feeder I set up in my backyard.

            I’m but a man, on a rock floating through space. Around me are a variety of strange flora and fauna that I’ve grown accustomed to in my short time here. There are creatures high in the sky and in the deepest depths of the ocean. Water hangs above my head with enough weight to crush me, but lighter than the air I’m walking around in. Surely, I don’t need my imagination to experience the wonders of the world.

            Life is constantly moving. We tend to get caught up with the hectic pace of trying to get by, of supporting families, maintaining homes, and building a career to support it all. We can forget the world around us when we’re racing to beat the clock to punch in or punch out. We know that the mitochondrion is the powerhouse of the cell. We know that one hydrogen molecule and two oxygen molecules are needed to make water. Shouldn’t those bits of information be all the more impressive to have than to not? This world is alive, and I think we tend to forget that.

So the next time, you have a moment, find a cloud and see what shape it formed into. Because water coming together in the shape of a spaceship on its own is pretty awesome.