OK, that title may not be original with me, fair enough. But I find myself ever drawn to trees and clouds. Trees are permanent testimonies to life while clouds capture the temporal epoche which moves from being to nonbeing in a continuous vanishing point.
Trees represent being: the hard nerve ends of sentient life, the enduring ones, the witnesses to the ephemeral who persist, who silently or only by whispering see it all pass by. In winter trees reveal their secret geometries, a geometry of meaning that eludes us mere humans. We see their branches arch, bend, twist, like ballet dancers frozen into permanence. Each bend, each shoot, each twig–their emergence must be governed by some grand law of physics, of life, that defies us to see it as anything other than chaos. Ah, but that is their trick: it is not chaotic at all but mirrors in its woody fibers the nerve endings of sentience. Silent, seemingly permanent, quietly growing… trees speak being.
Clouds–the stuff whereof dreams are made. They entrance with sheer colored beauty. They mesmerize us and tantalize us to love them even as they vanish before our longing eyes. No wait! we cry to them as the sun sets and time cruelly mocks our wishes. Clouds are often used to suggest heaven, which is odd if you think about it. Heaven is supposed to be eternal but clouds are the precise opposite of eternity. They are time itself: massing, unfolding, floating, scurrying along in the celestial vault, dissipating into nothingness. Like us. Clouds remind us that the permanence we so long for is illusion. We are but clouds on the horizon. Or better yet, the bird that flies through the great man’s hall in winter time. Venerable Bede captures that moment of warmth, light, joy as the bird flies from darkness through presence back out into utter darkness again. Those are clouds mocking us, luring us to hope for an eternity that cannot be for us.