by Rose Gordy

Coming back from snorkeling
on the Great Barrier Reef
two hours by boat to Cairns, Australia,
I look across the water
and watch an assortment
of fluffy white cumulus clouds
rising out of the mountains
and lining the horizon in the distance.

I’m swept up at that moment
into a Brigadoon kind of place,
but one that doesn’t happen
only once every hundred years.
Instead it lasts maybe just hours,
constantly being reconstellated
to protect it from dark storm clouds
which too frequently wipe it out
only in minutes or seconds.
Sometimes offshoots
of these “cities” in the sky
flow high above the horizon
and spread out across the blue skies
like suburbs that stretch
far beyond a city on the ground.

I sense only peace in this place
within the billowy whiteness.
Harmony abounds here.
Free flowing and evolving
and open to the minute
have new and different meanings
here in this ethereal place.
Oh, that I could take a piece
of this elusive calm,
this wondrous sense of all’s right
with the world within me
back to the ground of my being
and envelop the whole of my body and soul.

My spirit languishes
as I imagine being an inhabitant
of one of these cumulus “cities”.
What would it mean
to change completely
minute to minute or hour to hour
whenever necessary? I wonder
what it would be like to remain
in this white cloud city
this space in the sky. I wonder, too,
if being here is a taste of what
Heaven is. Total Peace and Harmony
outside time and space.

But my mind, trapped in earthliness,
reminds me that this World of Clouds
is integrally a part of time and space.
It changes frequently, is assaulted
by dark cloud enemies. Is even
blown away, in a sense killed by them.

Still my spirit yearns to stay
in this cumulus world
learning how to glory in its peace

for however long I can
and then return to earth
perhaps in another form
or maybe to another place.

Then out of my reverie, I hear
a silvery voice inside my head intone
words to me in a lilting chant.

“Oh my Dear Earthling,
you yearn for what you can only have
inside yourself.
You are not made
to live among us
here in our cumulus cities.
Know, though, you can turn
your head upwards
whenever you want to
and in your vivid imagination
travel here and stay with us awhile.
Flowing deep peace with us.
Flowing deep being with us.
Ever remembering, as the poet wrote,
you have many more
'miles to go before you sleep'.

Embrace our Peace and Harmony
while or when you can.
Then take as much
as your spirit can grasp
back to earth with you.
We need all of creation
as you know well.
Sky sustains earth and water.
Each sustains the others. No part
of creation can remain alone
and still be complete.

So look up to us
and our cities in the sky,
especially when the earth
is dragging you down
to depression and disdain
to pain and heartbreak.
And on days of clear blue skies
when it seems our cities
have totally disappeared,
know we will return
another time in other forms.

Take heart,
Fine Spirit of the Earth,
you always have
a Place of Solace with us
whenever you need it
'far from the maddening crowds'
inside and out of yourself.
Come to us
whenever your spirit
needs refreshment.
We will fulfill you
Seven times Seven.

Too soon the silvery voice
in my head became quiet
and I found myself
reclining in my sheet again
on the catamaran
about to pull
into the harbor at Carina.

Blessed to return to land
with these assurances
of Peace and Harmony,
knowing the cities in the clouds
would always be there for me
in my imagination,
I smiled with great joy.