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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gray Skies and Sunny Days

The wind lifts me up.
I evaporate like the water
And join the clouds.
Join their shifting dance.

The sky grows dark.
I stretch out thin and gray,
Covering the sun,
Belly full of water.

The more time I spend in the City of Dreaming Spires, the more I think it is not the spires that dream, but the clouds that hang over them. Silent, watchful, and broody, the dark gray sky seems to stick to the lighter gray spires that stretch up to meet it. It is not just one monstrous gray cloud covering all of Oxford, but layers, each one a different shade, from smoky white, to nearly black.

The clouds here are often indecisive, and do not always bring rain. Content, they come and rest over the town, embracing it in their soft gray folds. On such days, you can see the layers of clouds racing each other across the sky, the lower, lighter colored clouds skimming along below their darker companions. Look too long, and the illusion begins that you are moving, while the sky above remains stationary. It is almost as if one were to suddenly become aware of the fact that the world is constantly spinning and moving beneath us, not standing still.

Other days, it rains. Like the clouds, the rain also comes in different flavors, from a cold mist, to hard, nearly horizontal showers. A perpetual dampness hangs over the city, even when the rain is gone, held there by the clouds, and helped by the chilly wind.

But on some few, magical days, the clouds break up. They never really leave, mind you, but every now and then they contract into white strands, as if, instead of popcorn, a child had strung together cotton balls to decorate the Christmas tree. On these days, the sun shoots through the opening, as if trying to declare his presence to all those on the ground. And through the gaps in the clouds, one can see brilliant blue skies.
I empty my tears upon the earth.
The dry soil soaks up my moisture.
My body contracts,
A white flock of sheep once again grazes in their blue field.

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