the most amazing thing
A few weeks ago I saw purple clouds in a yellow sky.
Such an odd and whimsical occurrence, I thought, because I’d never seen
this before. (Or maybe I hadn’t been paying attention).
This sighting was so remarkable to me I finally, after many days, made a note of the sky and colours in my notebook with the intention of making a painting of the rare and incredible phenomenon.
“Lucky me!”, I thought, “Look what I happened upon and had the chance to see. Purple clouds- ha. Whoever would believe such a thing?”
And then this week, I saw it again. These purple clouds, so rare and incredible.
Only this time, I didn’t see the clouds as I stood on a mountain. This time, I saw them as I stood in an art gallery. Painting after painting, the landscapes of Canada as recorded by artists from the mid to late 19th century- skies of purple clouds.
Struck (again) by these purple clouds I made a note in my notebook; “November Among the Oaks, 1920, Homer R. Watson. *purple clouds!”.
As I write this now, the surprise of the second sighting of the purple clouds has passed and what I’m left with is a nagging sense of disappointment.
I am disappointed in myself.
I am disappointed mostly, that I have not seen (have not looked? have not been aware?) of this celestial manifestation that has (clearly) been taking place for a very long time (or at least, since the mid 1800s).
I am disappointed that I, someone who considers myself an alert, perceptive landscape painter, has never held attentively enough to the 4:30 pm light of a november day, to observe such an evening sky.
I am disappointed that I have left the canvas (I haven’t painted as much as I would like, of late) so long that the thought of purple clouds seems radical and rare.
I am disappointed that I have never before taken the time to paint a purple cloud.
Disappointed, disappointed. And still-
Running alongside these negative feelings is another thought:
I am reassured and hopeful about a world where I can experience in nature, purple clouds as a new and wondrous thing (despite a certainty it is a phenomenon as old as time) and again, I can experience a 150 year old painted record of these events as new and surprising once more.
There’s so much to experience, if I can only keep my eyes open and take the time to see.