I moved to the desert in the middle of summer—a summer of record-setting heat. But the heat wasn’t the problem. The problem was the lack of clouds. For days on end the sky was empty. An occasional jet contrail sent my hopes rocketing only to dissipate before my eyes.
I didn’t realize I would miss the moisture condensing above me . . . until my eyes drifted skyward and were met by blank, blue nothingness.
Water mattered to me. Before I moved, the ocean had been my haven. It reminded me how small I am; how great God is. The ocean’s roar drowned out my insecurities. I knew that. I knew I went to the coast to find my bearings, to plot my point on the edge of mystery.
What I didn’t know is how the clouds grounded me. I didn’t realize how often I looked up—how I depended on the beauty and wonder above me. I had no idea how the cirrus, the cumulus, the chaos in the troposphere settled my soul.
I didn’t know until the artist’s brush was stilled and the canvas stood dry and untouched. Stress and anxiety churned in the void.
When the heat abated and the season eased from summer to fall, clouds returned. I don’t remember the first cloud. I don’t recall the date or what I was wearing. But I do recall the flash flood of awareness it triggered. I do remember the feelings of place and belonging and home—feelings I hadn’t had in the cloudlessness.
The years in the desert taught me to hold onto hope, to remember today’s lack does not dictate tomorrow’s reality, and to give thanks for blessings in all their forms. Slowing to watch the clouds does not affect their trajectory, but it does affect mine.