37 thoughts on “Clouds Below Sky

    1. It certainly could, although water never occurred to me: perhaps because I spend my days looking at water that ranges from reddish-brown to greenish-brown. I need to find some water lilies, and see what their world looks like.

  1. Well I would say on the water that water is not really blue, unless it reflects the sky. The texture of the petals comes through nicely and the image is so pristine looking.

    1. You’re right, of course. Still, even the most pristine blue sky doesn’t often reflect blue in our waters, except under certain conditions. When winter comes and the algae fades, and calm, rain-free weather allows the mud and debris to settle out? Then, we have a chance. Farther down the coast, or inland, it’s different, but in my little world, the flow of the creeks and bayous, the tankers in the ship channel, shrimpers, and even wind can keep things stirred up.

      I like the petals. They remind me of snow-covered hills.

      1. Here too on the H20!! Swamp waters are generally dark with earthy shades except when you get those sky blue highlights. The white petals against the solid blue are kind of geometric too.

        1. Have you read Barbara Hurd’s Stirring The Mud? It’s a remarkable book. Here’s one of my favorite sentences from it: “To love a swamp is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised.”

  2. I like this picture! and the slightly crepe papery-texture. And everyone’s reactions are neat – – water-lilies, hearts, snow-covered hills.
    They remind me of snow-covered hills, too, especially evocative of what my driveway looks like in January.
    I found O’Keefe’s “Winter Road,” like elegant calligraphy, or a Japanese sumi-e ink painting, but it would also be terrific as a warning poster for winter driving in Upstate New York!

    1. There’s a lot of room for interpretation, isn’t there? Living in snow country as you do, it makes sense that you’d see snow here, but my childhood and youth in snow country seems to have left me with a lot of lingering snow associations.

      I hadn’t come across “Winter Road I,” so I read a bit about it, and the influence of photography, calligraphy, and Japanese print-making on her later work. I think she’d be tickled to have one of her works used as a warning poster. It might be difficult for some drivers to interpret the image, though, and that could lead to difficulties. After all, my first impression was that “Winter Road I” shows the mark of Zorro.

      1. Ha! :) Didn’t think of that. But ol’ Zorro would freeze his…horse off here!
        My sister draws and paints, and loves Georgia O’Keefe, I’ve been to New Mexico a few times, I have family in Socorro, but haven’t really seen a lot of her stuff, added to my list of “to do’s”, but I’m guessing she’d have liked your photo.

    1. I’ve never noticed any fragrance with these, Debbie. In fact, it was hard for me to recall more than a few wildflowers that have a noticeable fragrance. Rain lilies do, especially in large groups. but it’s more noticeable with trees, shrubs, and vines. There is something that fills the air with the most beautiful fragrance in late winter, and I still haven’t identified it. I’ve only found people who say, “Oh, yes. I know that scent — but I don’t know what it is.”

    1. That’s a nice thought. Did you know that she painted “Sky Above Clouds” in the garage of the Ghost Ranch house?

      Just today, I found this marvelous quotation in a brochure from a 1944 exhibition at An American Place:

      “I was the sort of child that ate around the raisin on the cookie and ate around the hole in the doughnut saving either the raisin or the hole for the last and best.

      So, probably – not having changed much – when I started painting the pelvis bones I was most interested in the holes in the bones – what I saw through them – particularly the blue from holding them up in the sun against the sky as one is apt to do when one seems to have more sky than earth in one’s world . . . They were most wonderful against the Blue – That Blue that will always be there after all man’s destruction is finished.”

      Here she is: the bone-holder.

  3. Oooh! I like that one! The texture on the white against the no-texture of the blue, the abstract shapes, and the color contrast. That one would make a luscious large-format print. (never mind that I adore Georgia O’Keefe, and blue and white china. . . .)

    1. I remember your fondness for the china, but I somehow missed your enjoyment of O’Keeffe’s work. I’m not surprised that she’s one of your favorites, particularly since you live in a part of the country that she loved and portrayed beautifully, and that you’re so sensitive to color.

      I’m pleased that you found so many delights in this photo. Simplicity doesn’t have to be boring, that’s for sure. Now, I have to ask — do you see the bird that I see? It’s a blue bird! The V of sky between the petals reminds me of the “birds” I used to draw when I was in grade school: simple, black V’s flying through the sky.

  4. For a moment I thought you had painted this. The white seemed to be put on with brush strokes. I can see your bird, I can see clouds and a glorious blue sky, but billowing white and sky blue also take me to memories of washing blowing in the breeze~mostly at my grandmother’s house, where the clothes line was strung across the back yard. I don’t know if washing on the line is a familiar sight in the US anymore. I remember being stunned in New York that washing had to be dried in the dryer. No unsightly washing was to be hung outside. Those were the neighbourhood rules; not state law, of course.

    1. In rural areas and small towns the laundry flag still flies. But in the suburbs and cities, there are a lot of people who think uniformity, tidiness, and no evidence of human life are good things. The homeowners’ associations are generally dead-set against anything so offensive as clotheslines. But of course — who would hang the clothes on them, anyway? (I’d best stop right here, lest my cultural criticism get away from me.)

      Hanging clothes was a wonderful part of my childhood: at least it was once I’d grown tall enough to reach the line. Before that, my job was to hand clothespins to my mother. There’s nothing better than the scent of sun and wind dried clothes. Try as they might, the chemists can’t replicate it, any more than they can bottle the scent of lily of the valley or lilacs.

      I love that you saw laundry on a line. It’s perfect.

      1. Gosh, now even more memories are flooding back; yes, to handing out the clothespins, playing with the clothespins, and then bringing in the washing, and folding it. And being allowed to use the little iron to iron the hankies and the teatowels, and the pride I felt when I finally graduated to ironing a shirt.

        1. And making dolls from the wooden clothespins, and the excitement of running out ahead of a storm to “bring in the wash.”

          And of course there’s this, from a post I wrote a couple of years ago:

          “When it comes to euphemism, my fondness for smalls has endured since childhood. Each time my mother asked me to hang laundry on the outdoor line, she would admonish, “Be sure to hang the smalls on the inside.”

          Smalls, of course, were underwear: the panties, bras and briefs not fit for public display. Hanging them on inside lines, between the sheets and the towels, kept them from public view. It was a common practice, meant to save self-conscious, clothes-hanging children from embarassment, and to prevent nosy neighbors or curious passers-by from drawing conclusions about the owners of the garments after scrutinizing the lace, ribbon, patterns, or color of the unmentionables.”

          Sometimes, I really do miss those days. From hanging lingerie and underwear between sheets and towels to “letting it all hang out” — in only twenty or thirty years. No wonder some of us have cultural whiplash.

          1. I miss them too. I am almost overwhelmed by nostalgia. At my childhood home we had a rotary clothesline so all the smalls went on the small lines close to the centre pole. And then you worked your way out to the large lines where you placed the sheets and towels.

            1. That’s exactly the kind we had, and the story of how it came to be in our family is sitting in my files. I’ve had a “laundry post” almost completed for two or three years. I do believe I need to finish that up!

    1. How appropriate! We have white-winged doves here which aren’t wholly white, but every now and then I’ll see a pure white pigeon hanging out with the others, and when seen against the sky, those are quite beautiful. We could write a little verse for children:

      White bird, blue bird —
      every day a new bird!

      I’ll have to think about that at work today, and see if I can expand it a bit. Maybe you could find a use for it when you talk to the school groups.

    1. I’ve come to appreciate abstract images more and more. I suspect a year or two ago, I never would have “seen” this possibility within the larger image, but it’s fun to find these little details and pull them out. It’s almost as much fun as hanging laundry used to be!

    1. I’m really fond of this image, and I’m glad you like it, too. I first saw it as ski slopes, probably because it’s been so hot here that the thought of snow’s appealing. It’s been interesting how many other things people see in it. I hope there’s still time to find more during this season. Between my camera having to go in for some small repairs and the heat, my rhythm’s been disrupted. It’s time to get it reestablished!

  5. I am wayyyy behind.. opened this when you wrote it, read it offline and then hit snags trying to send the comment when hobbling thru the public wifi options at the park!

    That was a very stark-yet-interesting photo. The comments were equally interesting!

    You were on my mind yesterday when I took a ‘shortcut’ thru a rural area, which seemed via google maps to be equal, and probably much more interesting. It was a lovely and very interesting first few hours, but when I saw the ‘welcome to guayas province’ and a sign for guayaquil being x amount of kilometers, I had to laugh.. and kept rolling. I did not take a wrong turn, but wow, what a pastoral sweep thru new country! I reached lost bancos last night around 10! today wil run errands and then make the 30 minute drive to mindo… on monday I will return to poza honda the ‘normal’ route…. too bad you weren’t riding shotgun as there were some wonderful photo ops!

    1. You’ve been busy, Lisa. I have a feeling reading blog posts is and should be near the bottom of your list. I took the time to read your latest, and am even happier for you. I think a good fit has been made, and your new home is going to suit you well.

      I’d love to be riding shotgun with you. Right now, I’d be happy to be riding anywhere. When there are only about six hours of the day that being outdoors is bearable, work takes precedence, and being out and about with the camera just doesn’t happen.Another month, and things will improve. Even if the temperatures are hot, the shorter days and lowered sun angle mean nicer mornings and evenings — and I’m ready for it. Clouds can help, but all of our clouds have brought rain — nice for nature, but sometimes frustrating for me.

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