Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Cloud

Exploding, hazy set and spun over the crest of the mountains, the clouds hovered.
Such a sight to be greeted with as one climbs the last peak before salvation, this cloud spoke to me of sanctuary, spoke of comfort and rest.
We’d travelled for nine days through the passes of the Hindu Kush avoiding bandits and brigands, wild animals and harsh weather. Above all, we’d left our enemies far behind.
Somewhere, war rolled on, but up here the thin air sent my head reeling and thinking only of where I would next lay down to sleep. Right now I could see that place, in the valley below. The village of Chest-e Sharif had been sprinkled like leaves along the shallower slopes below.
I gazed at the cloud and thanked God for bringing us this far, to the brink of safety. I roused Rasul who was always on the edge of slumber now, often quite literally stumbling too close to the edge.
“Rasul,” I said, “Look how far we have come; we have nearly reached our goal. See, even the clouds are welcoming us with salutations!”
But Rasul winced as he stared into the vaporous cloud, rallied and set off down the mountain without another glance at the magnificent cloudscape.
Perhaps when he looked out at the clouds, level with ourselves, he felt a strange blasphemy, to be living as high as heaven? Maybe he saw in the cloud the detonation of the war he was leaving behind? Or perhaps this white cloud was just one lofty peak too high for him?
I called then, down the mountain after Rasul, called to find out what made him turn away, but he said that he was just tired of looking.


Buddhist In The West said...

I often take photos of clouds - there are so many different types. They all seem to lead to different images and ideas.

Paul Bernard said...

That's true enough of those magical clouds.
Although the late, great DJ, John Peel, did get into trouble for saying - on air - that after his show he was going to go and watch the clouds write poems in the sky.
While that doesn't sound too bad now, in the 60s, on the BBC, that was tantamount to saying you took LSD (and perhaps that was what he was saying!)

Roxana said...

such a coincidence, I have just commented about clouds on another blog... I am also tempted to take many photos of clouds, but I don't know, when I look at pictures afterwards the real ones seem more impressive all the time. or they convey a feeling which is only rarely there in the pic.

btw, I have been away so this comes a bit late, but I want to say that I love your new format :-) now I understand your photographer-story much better. and I love the way your texts are related to the pics, always in such an unexpected and original way.