The Weight of a Cloud

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. Rabindranath Tagore

Scientists have calculated that a typical fluffy white cumulus cloud weighs around a millions pounds (about 500,000 kilograms). Blue whales are the largest animals that have ever lived. According to National Geographic, blue whales can weigh up to 200,000 pounds (about 90,700 kilograms). Incredible as it may seem those gorgeous clouds drifting across the sky on a sunny day weigh as much as five blue whales. Or alternatively, twenty-five gray whales (40,000 pounds), eighty-three orcas (12,000 pounds).

Nephology is the branch of meteorology that studies clouds. Cloud scientists have calculated that the volume of cumulus clouds is around a cubic kilometer. And the density of water in a cloud is about a one-eighth of a teaspoon per cubic meter. A cubic meter is about six bathtubs full of water. So even though there is a lot of water, it is spread out over a huge area. That is why clouds float, and that buoyancy can be a symbol for a multitude of emotions. Symbolic clouds have a wide variety of meanings: ignorance, silver-lining, worry, etc. Clouds are the metaphoric multi-tools of lyrical language. To quote Joni Mitchell wrote in Both Sides Now, …So many things I would have done / But clouds got in my way.

There are days when it seems a gray cloud follows us around. The weight of problems, obligations, setbacks, memories, etc., settle in our heads like a gloomy gray helmet. Neither sunshine nor positive light can chase away the joyless melancholy. We clutch to our hearts the choices we make and the steps we take. The shadows of unsettled choices long past dog our steps and eclipse the luminous potential of Now. But how to scatter the clouds?

Focus the flame of your attention on the essential center of your anxiety. What are the sources of this angst adhering to your spirit? Through self-awareness you can distill the distressing truth from the cloud of uncertainty. Transform the energy of upset into positive incandescence. Vaporize the mist of doubt. Allow the steam of resolution to rise from your spirit. Reveal the central point of apprehension and release the heartache and suffering. Let newfound understanding lift anxiety’s veil.

When clouds begin to gather on your horizon, imagine they are a pod of playful whales come to temporarily interrupt your day. Problems may seem enormous, but they can be symbolically reduced to shadows of bygone days with a more affirmative perspective. One day, anxiety’s once dreadful leviathans will float away. Your spirit will sail upon the blue sky towards the endless horizons of happiness. And as the great poet Tagore also wrote: Dark clouds become heaven’s flowers when kissed by light.

Published by cewheeler

Writer/Artist:12 years in China – univ. lecturer: writing,poetry,culture; editor – magazine/newspaper & actor. 40 years students of the Tao. Traveler. Father. Read my books at:

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