Design by Karela Palazio

Clouds are strange. Some consume the sky, eating up the vast expanse of blue in small, sputtering bites. Others look like they’ve been plucked straight out of a painting, their softly curved edges forming a handful of perfectly gathered hills. 

Wind tickled my nose. My backpack crinkled while I readjusted, attempting to make the stiff fabric into a pillow.   

There was a large gap in the clouds, as if someone had blown a straw into the foam of a drink. At that moment, the sky looked fake. The part in the sky looked like a man-made hole. As if someone was digging and happened to finally break through. It reminded me of a glitch—the shattering of an illusion. 

The sun beat down on my face, its soft light distorting my view. I sat up, my back wet from the grass. Cross Campus was swarming with people, all soaking in the sun as if its existence was endangered. Every illuminated face was aglow with gentle, contagious joy. It’s hard to be sad on such a day. 

There are few days like this during these dreary winter months. The sky is never this blue and the sun never says hello. Normally, the day follows a progression of grays, getting darker as the hours tick by. Normally, I cannot separate the clouds from their monochrome companions and when I do, they are always pregnant with rain. Normally, I cannot lay on the ground, unless I want to be submerged in a pile of mud. Normally, I cannot bask in the sun because these days, the sun does not shine.    

In these winter months, it is a dull world. There is no sun to glint off the buildings or put a twinkle in someone’s eye. There is no beam of light to bask in or warm breeze to fill you with a sense of contentment. The world isn’t fresh with spring or covered with snow, rather stuck somewhere in between. 

And yet there is something to say of this gray world. People and places adopt a rather neutral color, and there’s a sort of forced calm. They mill about in their coats, umbrellas bobbing up and down as they trek through puddles in their boots, rippling across the field in shades of blue and black. The outdoors offer little comfort, so they gather together in little groups, seeking the warmth of community.  

Today I walked outside and was greeted by a kiss of water on my cheek. The water slowly showered me in all its glory. I made my way to the spot where just yesterday, I sat watching the clouds. But then I wonder: would I have ever stopped to watch the clouds if I had known I would see them tomorrow?

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