Restful, joyful, feasting the eye…
Gazing at clouds that forever go by…
Under the blue of the vaulted sky…
~Hattie Tyng Griswold, “Under the Blue,” 1897
Perchance, like myself, you may cloud-gazing be;
Perchance, my sweet friend, you are thinking of me…
~Margaret Miller Davidson, 1838
Poor moralists! To miss so much of the joy of life; to deny oneself the pleasure (to mention only one among many) of reclining lazily on one’s back in a snap-dragon, watching the little white clouds sail past upon a sea of blue… ~A. A. Milne, “The Case for the Artist,” 1919
Now if God made the clouds so beautiful, did He not mean us to gaze upon them and be thankful for them? Did He not wish to remind us that there is something heavenly above us, beyond the reach of our present sordid lives? ~Alfred Rowland, “The Clouds: God’s Angels of the Sea,” in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
With sails of silver by.
~C. 3. 3. (Oscar Wilde), “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” 1897
In the afternoon I watch the clouds drift past the bald peak of Mount Tukuhnikivats. (Someone has to do it.) ~Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, 1968
As for Lucy, she was a dreamy sort of girl, good for star-gazing, and cloud-gazing, and castle-in-the-air gazing. ~F. J. Gould, Worth While People, 1916 [Lucy Larcom
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time. ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894
Cloud-gazing is a worthy distraction to occupy a few fragments of time. There is solid pleasure in letting our eyes lead fancy away among the mazes of cloud-land. Beautiful shapes float before our eyes — under our gaze they melt, and change, and recombine, with the limitless fancy of nature. What colours! — the softest, the sternest, the richest, the brightest — hues of lead, copper, silver, and gold. ~George Chaplin Child, M.D., Benedicite, 1866 [Altered.
Come up here, you dream people. You’re cloud-gazing. Have a look at something else than vapor. ~Frank Hatfield, “Hum,” 1909
I cannot get that beautiful afternoon out of my head, above me where I lay the grass was silhouetted against the blue of the heavens, small clouds were rushing past as the wind drove them on an endless journey. ~Julia Lee-Booker, letter to Pat McSwiney, 1940 July 24th
When we gaze at cloud-scenes, we feel nameless longings, awe, reverence, or are homesick for a great love and melted tenderness rising from the thought of something behind the clouds to that of a power behind nature. Cloud language is addressed to the heart, to reverie, to the poet’s pen and artist’s brush. ~G. Stanley Hall, “Note on Cloud Fancies,” 1903 [Altered.
When a Japanese says of one that there is “no tea” in him, it means that he is devoid of soul. When one has “too much tea” in him it means that he is accursed by an excess of what in the West is called “the artistic temperament”: tangential, cloud-gazing, dream-drunk. ~Marian Cox, Ventures in Worlds, 1915
A thousand miles up, great white clouds were blown
Across a sky as bright and clear as glass,
And here their shadows raced across the grass.
Cloud-gazing made one’s little senses reel,
For all the sky seemed, like a glittering wheel,
To turn clean over.
~William Canton, “The Great World,” A Lost Epic, and Other Poems, 1887
She took pleasure in flowers, in the gambols of pet animals, in long listless spells of cloud-gazing when the heavens were bright — healing with the luxury of rest, of passive enjoyment, indifferent to ought but the passing present. ~Egerton Castle, The Light of Scarthey, 1899 [A little altered.
In early history clouds were thought to reveal the feelings of the divine powers towards men and to forecast future events. Cloud gazing was very likely a more serious and anxious business, with attentive scrutiny to the ever metamorphosing landscape above and pastoral and agricultural life dependent on the weather. ~G. Stanley Hall, “Note on Cloud Fancies,” 1903 [Aeromancy. Prose altered.
I sat gazing at clouds and sky till they faded into the gloom of night; they got thinner and thinner then, and stars shone through them, and soon they vanished entirely, and the stars had it all their own way. ~Gordon Stables, Kenneth McAlpine: A Tale of Mountain, Moorland, and Sea, 1885
Æthereal songster! companion of the sun,
The broad unbounded sky is all thine own;
So high ‘mid soft clouds of floating silver,
Soaring merrily, echoing o’er the wood!
In glee I climb these cloud-gazing hills
To hear thy glad song, thy morning hymn!
~Thomas Miller, “To the Sky-Lark,” 1836 [Altered.
To the immortal Ruskin is due the awakened cloud consciousness of the last third of the century. He strove to arouse men from their artistic lethargy by pointing out the plethora of æsthetic wonders pervading nature’s every work. He made cloud gazing a respectable avocation, not for the few but the many. ~G. Stanley Hall & J. E. W. Wallin, “How Children and Youth Think and Feel about Clouds,” 1902
In their wretched abodes they may dwell the whole year through, ay, sometimes their whole lives through. Those who thus live and die never have a vision of golden harvests and lovely gardens and verdant fields and lanes crowded with ferns and mosses and vocal with the songs of birds. Hardly a single flower gladdens their sight; but even they may wistfully gaze up to the clouds which sweep over the sky, and may learn to hope and believe that there is something untainted by defilement, and for evermore beyond the reach of this world’s misery and sin. ~Alfred Rowland, “The Clouds: God’s Angels of the Sea,” in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884
God’s cloud-scenes are for everybody everywhere. Some people can never afford to travel; the grandeur of the Alps, the loveliness of the lakes, are only imaginative dreams for them; and even those who visit such fair scenes merely get a hurried glimpse, and then they are back again amidst the turmoil of human life; but the sky is always overhead, and everywhere to be seen. ~Alfred Rowland, “The Clouds: God’s Angels of the Sea,” in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884
Contentment in life, after all, is built upon our industry in learning to see things and to store the fancy with riches for times and seasons. The wealth gained from cloud-gazing, weather lore, wild flowers, the migrating birds — and, not least, the treasures of florists’ windows and catalogues — cannot be stolen from us. ~Lena May McCauley, The Joy of Gardens, 1911
Original post date: 2011 May 12
1st major revision: 2018 Sept 13