Let me preface this post by saying that I did apply for three jobs today and swept the porch and all sorts of other wonderfully functional things – and it wasn’t hard (like it is probably actually hard for some people) because I am usually a fairly functional person unless, like most of us, I am completely overwhelmed…and then the edges fray and I smile too big and get quite staticky.
So, I was driving around and dropping off job applications and listening to Death Cab for Cutie and thinking how clever it was for me to think about using my experiences as a launch pad for all sorts of wonderful stories. I did think a lot about Flannery O’ Connor this summer, her characters and mythic themes of struggle between families and communities and all our damn manners that seem to just make us cold as hell. I don’t want to be Flannery O’ Connor; I want to be Faith Rachel Rhyne.
A few years ago, thinking about how my mother and father were so torn between Joanne and Joanna, I thought about changing my name to Joanna. But, mostly only when we drove past the exit sign to that South Carolina town by the same name. Joanna Beck was what I was considering. Ha! If I make myself a writer, I could even have a nom de plume and it wouldn’t be crazy at all.
On the other hand, I’ve had this name for a long time. I’m used to it.
Anyway, I made some noodles for some eventual starchy dinner, took out the dog for a minute, and noticed the greygreygrey had started to clear. I resolutely vowed to only look at the skyscape and it was all wet leaves with rain falling off of them as they fell to wherever they landed and it was a lot like other places I have lived that was just great and immensely peaceful and…clarifying…all that. I sent myself inside, because I didn’t want to get carried away.
Which really struck me as a very odd ‘cloud’ (though I was not in the slightest bit surprised) and I thought some about everything I have thought about. Considered the data again.
However, the thing that has always made feel the most conviction is the feeling of my chest expanding in some impossible way and the immense and focused sense of goodness. And I keep my face calm and I don’t yell to the people walking across the street, blathering on about something or other. I just stand there and watch the most improbable constructions seem to take place. And perhaps it is just my absolute delight that a cloud could look so much like a picture…perhaps it is that surprised joy that fills me with balloons.
But, I think I know that it is not and that I am, when I stand under the sky and look up, so convinced of Some Hugely Wonderful Supreme Being that makes sense…it is the goodness and sense that fills me. I guess I could understand how that could seem delusional, except I think I maintain (since mid-September) a pretty keen grip on the differences between my little world of wondrous belief and the big world that does not necessarily agree or appreciate.
People would probably cagey-sidestep the fact that this project may have the capacity to make a bunch of indie rockers, et. al. into prophets. Oh, yeah – it’d be inconvenient if God were proved by the likes of me. Wouldn’t fit.
The thing is, far stranger things have been written. The problem is, no one ever believed the stories, probably because they couldn’t…because systems of power have made this place so frickin’ miserable and violent that most of our hearts were wired away from actually experiencing a true sense of connection with that old force that stuns snakes and makes people speak in tongues and do all that.
Or folks got so caught in their version of it and all the expectations associated with it that they blinded themselves from the fact that anything so ancient as the sky and all its inhabitants doesn’t give 1/2 a damn about what sells or panders.
I am not suggesting any sort of speaking-in-tongues revolution or some radical snake fest, just as a disclaimer.
What I am suggesting is that that same force that prompts some sane and reasonable people to become hysterical with the Holy Ghost, well it isn’t imaginary…though some people may, admittedly, get carried away or make a spectacle of themselves.
I am not suggesting that I am anything special. I am, however, asking people to genuinely consider the fact that this is impossible. Perhaps once, or twice – but such thematically illustrative cloud structures day after day for months…IMPOSSIBLE.
Unless, of course, I am correct – in which case, it would be entirely possible and there needs to be some seriously calm discussion as to how to undo the negative effect of the past several thousand years. Which would be awesome. This place is, in many areas, nightmarish…what we’ve done and continue to do…
I really wish I could not write about this. I don’t feel crazily compulsive or obsessed. In fact, I have taken on a very calmly accepting perspective. It just feels like something I have to do, like if you see a bomb in an airport – you feel like you have to tell someone, because it’s important, right? And I think about what the consequences of not telling vs. telling may be…for me in my small life and for others…I genuinely am just trying to do the right thing.
It does admittedly seem a little loopy…and lots of people who have experienced significant spiritual conviction have been written as total nuts. However, I am really not comfortable ignoring the fact that there are numerous indications that people really ought to start re-considering their assumptions.
I understand that this may result in further trouble for me. I ‘get’ that both my belief that I may have laid a foundation for proving God and that I am being somewhat troubled as a result of it… (because it does, admittedly seem extremely bizarre) well, it does all seem a bit delusional.
However, if anyone ever bothered to actually think about it they’d realize that it is probably high time that someone proved God, by any name. It would solve far more problems than it would create, because the thing I have noticed, even from the beginning is that the forms can be interpreted in so many different ways…so many different names for the same thing.
I am certain that other people have known the same things I know. They just couldn’t tell anyone that their bones felt old at times and that sometimes their days were filled with tiny points of knowing and that sometimes…well, sometimes there was just no way of making sense of the space between their hearts and their minds.
Oh, and why could they not tell anyone? Because they’d get, um…killed, or institutionalized or run out of town?
(Oh, shit – that still happens, doesn’t it?)
Here’s a proposal for you: As soon as someone can prove to me how so many triangles and familiar compositions (not specifically featured in these pictures) can show up in the sky based on what we know ‘scientifically’ – well, I will happily (with great relief) never write about clouds or God again, except perhaps to reflect upon the experience for the purpose of writing a book about how profoundly our belief can affect our perception, which is basically what this whole damn blog is about.
Otherwise, I want to talk to someone about what the heck is going to happen now that some clever nobody may have proved a sustained and sustaining God that exists outside of pictures…ironically, by taking so many pictures.
Man, I wish people would give me a little credit for at least believing, for trying…
Look at them closely. Double click.
I just wish someone would tell me. Did I prove God?
Or is there nothing there at all?
I think the thing that has bugged me more than anything is that I just don’t know. To me, it sort of seems, with data and memoir, like I might have laid a foundation for proving God.
My experience has been that people tend to ignore that sort of thing. Probably because God likely cares more about polar bears and oceans than It does for corporations and systemic disempowerment.
Now, briskly brushing my hands, back to planning to wash the porch and thinking about characters.
I am calm and reasonable (which takes so much out of it, to have to hold myself in neutral to not get driven away)…and just trying to do the right thing.
I have more pictures from today, some of which are pretty outstandingly odd and I guess I just can’t get away from the cloud issue…until someone either explains or admits.
Thanks for your time and consideration. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.