Cloud Watching.

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I’ve spent the summer fascinated by clouds.

When I was a little girl, I spent countless hours lying on the grass, watching clouds float by, trying to see dragons or trucks or sand castles in the fluffy white shapes twisting and shifting in the bright blue sky.

And this summer, for whatever reason, I’ve gotten back in the habit.

I’m still trying to find dragons. But it seems as I’ve gotten older, the shapes change faster than they used to.

No more do I see the shape and I blink and…it’s gone.

And I think, this is life.

For so many years, my father was a steady part of my life. Always there. Always ready to watch one of my kids when needed, or show up to help when something at my house needed fixing, or to offer advice when we were unsure about the next big step we should take. The last time I saw him, he was power washing the house, smiling and waving at me when I dropped my mom off at home.

And the next morning, he was gone. Just like that.

As I fell on the floor of the garage, crying out for my daddy, I wanted to rewind. I wanted so much to reach out and grab hold of the days before, squeezing those moments in my hands, holding them close to my heart and never letting them go.

But I couldn’t. Because clouds keep changing, even when we aren’t ready.

When my sister was sick, it seemed for a while that the clouds were frozen in space.

Everything was frozen. Even me. My soul.

Numb and frozen.

Then suddenly everything was in frantic motion again, and I wanted to re-freeze it. The night my sister died, I held her ankles. Everyone else was holding her hands or kissing her face and the only free space was her ankles, so I held on with everything I had.

But the cloud shifted anyway, and it cracked my soul with such violence, I wasn’t sure I could ever watch the clouds again.

It’s hard to live that way, not looking at the clouds.

It’s hard to watch my mom keep trying to shift and adjust when the clouds change.

Two weeks ago, my mom’s little dog got out of the fence and disappeared.

Immediately, my kids drove over to Mom’s house to look for him, but he wasn’t anywhere to be found. I put his picture up on Facebook, on local animal shelter pages, on Craigslist.

Every day since he’s been gone, I get up a little earlier and check the animal shelter pages for stray dogs.

I keep hoping to see his tiny face, so I can get him and bring him home to my mom.

No luck, so far.

I hate it.

I wish the clouds could just stay put. Just for a minute.

Just long enough to find the shapes and be able to sit and enjoy them.

Long enough to catch them in my hands and hold tight.

But they won’t, because that isn’t the way of clouds.

So I have to learn to appreciate those fleeting seconds when the shapes are just right, just exactly what I was looking for.

Because I know that in a fraction of a second they will change, but at least I had the joy of seeing the dragon.

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