“The sky is turning into popcorn! Come look!”, chattered Anna as she sprang away from the window.
“Cumulonimbus,” I said, imitating the inflection of Russel from Pixar’s “Up”.
When a mass begins to grow in the corner of your bigger-than-real-life Texas skyline, and mutates into fantastic shapes accented by the setting sun… everyone is at the windows.
“It looks like a marshmallow in the microwave,” I nodded. But apparently some food analogies are superior to others, and Anna defended her popcorn word-picture with enthusiasm before she began to pick out shapes in the gigantic marshmallow/popcorn cloud.
“I see an Indian talking! He has his mouth open like this!” I had forgotten that my sister can open her mouth very wide. But she couldn’t leave it like that, because she was our cloud monitor, keeping track of the changing shapes. She had a couple of assistants in Alan and myself.
“Der’s a cowboy reading a book wid his feet up!” declared Alan, and I’m not sure whether he actually saw this or was making it up. But Anna went along with it.
“Okay, and there’s a lady with a cat leaning on her EYE!”
“Where?” I asked.
“Uhhh… it’s gone now. These things change so FAST!”
“Uh-huh,” I said slowly, my eyes laughing about several different things at once. “Look at that top part– it looks like a caterpillar, with the feet and everything.”
“Yeah, it does!”
“And if you cut it in half and only looked at the left half, it would be a buffalo.”
“Yeah, a charging buffalo! With smoke behind it,” she added. And she was right. It wasn’t hard to imagine the muscled beast rampaging across a rippling American plain– the cloud was growing larger by the second, morphing into new shapes and creating new creativity-conducive poofs. It looked so marvelously alive. It was like watching footage from one of those time lapse cameras… but here we were in real time.
“It all looks like babies!” Alan announced with excitement.
“Haha, you’re just copying Ellie in Up. She saw babies in all the clouds too,” Anna laughed at him before launching into her next description. “That white part over there looks like a waterfall… the part with all the smudgyness.”
“Or like the walls in Carlsbad Caverns…” I thought to myself while she pointed out another cloud sculpture. A few seconds later I heard her say, “The whole cloud looks like it’s evaporating!” And I’m not sure where she got that, but I thought it was funny when Alan tried to imitate the word: “Buddaperading.”
The sun was sneaking off at this point, taking the orange and pink and yellow away from the cloud as it left. Soon the miraculous mutations of the marshmallow/popcorn cloud were almost indistinguishable. And I don’t believe we’ll even get any rain from our evening art exhibition, because it was following a northern trajectory. But it was enough to have seen and wondered.
“He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.” -Jeremiah 10:13