On cloud nine

I was very chuffed to have one of my cloud photographs along with an early 18thC Chinese Buddhist Monk’s poem featured on the Cloud Appreciation Society‘s Cloud-A-Day. In case you are wondering the Cloud -A-Day is a subscription prescription where a cloud floats in to your inbox to lift your spirits, yes being under a cloud is a good thing.

The poem is from a book ‘The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China’, it is full of clouds, and grass. It’s the sort of book that winks at you out of Stromness Books & Prints window downstairs. That’s the pleasure/pain of living above a bookshop, too much winking.

The photograph is one of a series where I was thinking about the possibility that we are all capable of becoming clouds in the vapour we breathe out. It’s an idea that Gavin Pretor-Pinney (member No. 001 of the Cloud Appreciation Society) wrote about in his book The Cloudspotting Guide, only he was thinking about joggers and perspiration.

The series of breathing clouds went on tour to Papay where it has settled and become part of the community’s art collection and is on show at Beltane. One broke off and floated to Westray.

Wondering about the origins of ‘cloud nine’? It comes from the late 19thC Cloud Atlas classification of Cumulonimbus capillitas, the tallest cloud, as number nine. Imagine being on that.