HOW beautiful are the white
sails of the clouds, as they drift like little ships toward the isles of
light, or drop anchor for a moment in the summer sky, their shadows
patching the bare faces of the hills.
And how lovely the shores
that await their coming-- the silver sands and wild bays-- the great,
gold-edged mountains and dark caves where the lost Vikings sleep.
Over the hills and under the stars; gold in the sunlight, grey in the rain
steadily, day after day, year after year, the proud procession passes.
White, fleecy clouds scuttling like sheep before the wild wolf of the
wind. Stately galleons laden with the plunder of the sunset. Castles and
minarets rising perilously against a quiet infinity of space. Wisps of
blue smoke curling up from the forgotten altars of the gods. All passing,
all changing-- yet all as eternal as the sky, ageless as the Earth around
which they revolve.
Do they watch us, we wonder-- our strange, ant-like maneuverings in the
world far below, our wars and wanderings, our loves, our brief successes
and our growing old? And is it from pity that they weep, and offer us the
solace of their beauty, that ages not, nor fades, nor turns to ashes with
We shall never know. Of one thing, only, are we certain. They provide a
celestial picture-show where there are no reserved seats and no
shareholders to claim the profits. Where a beggar may sit with a king, and
each begin to understand his true worth in the scheme of things.
And, because of this (and the inspiration they offer, without favour, to
us all), there are many among us who will endure hardship or distress,
poverty or sickness, loss of love or fame, all with a good grace, if we
have but one consolation left: A window through which to watch the clouds.
An Atlantic Sunset, seen from the Outer Isles