Clouds are not the cheeks of angels you know, they’re only clouds…
I've always loved this poem by Rod McKuen. I can’t even remember when I heard it for the first time or learned it by heart. I appreciate the way this poem can open up a conversation about clouds. And the clouds in Atlanta have been so beautiful this fall.
It seems like more days than not this fall I’ve been stopped by something beautiful going on in the sky. And they’ve been reminding me of Mom. Maybe it's their wispiness or their colors, but they’ve been wonderful. Mom always loved watching the sky. One of her favorite things was to watch storms come in. I have many memories of watching from our front porch. These Atlanta-fall clouds would have given her so many days for her heart to dance. And my heart has been dancing as I’ve been watching them and remembering her. They have inspired me and comforted me.
Coming from corn and bean fields, I grew up with lots of sky. The sunrises and sunsets in the winter were always so incredible. You could see the silhouettes of the trees and all the rest were clouds and color. It was as if God started each day with a new canvas and just painted, swirled and dashed as we all marveled.
The holidays are tender now with Mom and Dad both gone. I miss them ~ talking important things or just about what's going on. I can't remember a time when she told me what to do, but mostly she would hold me close and pat my arm (or was that Granddaddy? All my angels sometimes inter-mingle). She would draw me close and hold my face in both her hands, look me in the eye. When she did that, I knew all the way to my toes how very much she loved me.
Lately I’m thinking Mom’s playing a part in these beautiful clouds. Maybe God’s loaning her a paintbrush and inviting her to take a turn at painting. I see these clouds and give thanks from the bottom of my heart.
These days I would like to have a conversation with Mr. McKuen, I’m thinking clouds are the cheeks of angels, you know?
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.