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Clouds - When the Storm Clouds Gather

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Clouds - When the Storm Clouds Gather
Living over a Blackpool Promenade pub in the mid-sixties was wonderful and the ever-changing views from the front windows never lost their fascination for any of us. My mother, when she wasn’t busy, sat in the bay window of our living room, often accompanied by my nanna, a frequent visitor. My father kept a pair of binoculars on the window sill and liked to look at the horizon on a clear day.
I sat with my mother one sunny day, nothing special, just watching holiday-makers on the sands. It was full of deck-chairs, wind-breakers and families having fun.
“They will be coming off the beach in a minute.”I remember my mother saying. She told me to look at the clouds coming in with the tide, how they were darkening. The horizon had vanished into the blur of gray and dusky pink that was moving closer until it covered the sun and what was left of blue sky. A rumble of thunder was followed by huge raindrops. People on the beach made haste to gather their belongings and make a run for shelter. Some dashed under South Pier, but they would have to move again as the tide came in. Mum and I watched the lightning fill the sky like electric charges breaking the clouds, and the rain, now heavy, sweeping across the promenade, not a soul in sight.
Many years later I recognised the same cloud formation. We were having a family holiday in Pembrokeshire, my husband and I with our two young children. Between Saundersfoot and Amroth there is a lovely stretch of beach and rock pools at Wiseman’s Bridge, so called because of the small, stone built bridge over the stream of fresh water filtering from the land to the sea. There were toilets nearby, a shop for ice creams and always somewhere to park. The only down-side was clambering over unstable rocks to get on to the beach or down the concrete path on the other side of the bridge carrying picnic, towels, fishing nets, buckets and spades and our beach tent. My husband and I would struggle to feed the flexible poles through the correct channels in the beach tent, especially if it was breezy, but when it was finished and anchored with rocks, it was perfect. I’m sure modern day versions are simpler, but those days are gone. We were all in or close to the tent, tucking into our picnic when I noticed the clouds on the horizon and wondered how long we had before the rain would arrive. Should we pack up and go to the car taking into account getting across the rocks again, or all four of us huddle together in the tent with the open side fully zipped up? I’ve got a feeling that we did both, on separate occasions. I’ll have to ask the kids.
It’s lovely to lie back on the ground and watch the sky on a summer’s day. Imagine being up there, floating on one of those fluffy, feathery, cotton-wool clouds, just resting.
Looking down on clouds is an enchanting sight, too. Natural beauty.   Two choices of poem,   Dylan Thomas   Shall gods be said to thump the clouds
When clouds are cursed by thunder,
Be said to weep when weather howls?
Shall rainbows be their tunics' colour?
When it is rain where are the gods?
Shall it be said they sprinkle water
From garden cans, or free the floods?
Shall it be said that, venuswise,
An old god's dugs are pressed and pricked,
The wet night scolds me like a nurse?
It shall be said that gods are stone.
Shall a dropped stone drum on the ground,
Flung gravel chime? Let the stones speak
With tongues that talk all tongues.
    and Emily Dickinson    The sky is low, the clouds are mean,    A traveling flake of snow    Across a barn or through a rut    Debates if it will go.      A narrow wind complains all day    How some one treated him;    Nature, like us, is sometimes caught    Without her diadem.     Thanks for reading, Pam x      
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