Thirty-One Thresholds – A Break in the Clouds, Today That is Enough

A Break in the Clouds

A Break in the Clouds © 2014 Bo Mackison

I should have expected this kind of day to happen, even planned for it.

When I created the Thirty-One Thresholds Project to encourage me to get out of the house and provide inspiration for getting involved in a daily activity, it sounded doable.

There are many places to visit in the Madison area. It is reasonable to expect that I could find a place to go every day. (Though I might have thought a bit more about the effects of weather and choosing outside vs. inside spaces…that is another technical glitch for me to explore another day)

I visited the National Mustard Museum the first day (with the admission that it made the top of the list because of its proximity to my home). One Threshold checked off the list.

Yesterday I managed a cross town trip to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, tempted by the thought of sitting in the tropical conservatory and luxuriating in the green and the warmth. The tropical appeal was enough of a carrot stick. Two Thresholds checked off the list.

Today. Today, though it wasn’t my initial plan, the threshold I crossed was the door of my house as I took Gracie for a pre-sunrise winter walk through the neighborhood. And then the return home after admiring a break in the clouds and momentary glimpse of sunlight.

I did run an errand, so I could have taken a photograph of the double doors of a neighborhood convenience store, but I previously decided that the thresholds of stores, while important, were not going to be a part of the Thirty-One Thresholds. There was also the threshold of the door to the laundry room. Doing laundry is important, too, especially since I needed traveling clothes for the weekend. But again, not a part of the Threshold Project.

So, it was a slower than hoped for day. And since I am boarding an airplane tomorrow morning for a very important weekend visit, I gave myself permission to indulge in self-care. And that is a threshold in itself — knowing when the practice of self-care takes priority.

Experimenting – Or Mostly Playing – from an Airplane Window — Part III, Clouds, Clouds, Then Land Sighting

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.
You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
~ Cesare Pavese

The flight from Madison to New York City was a window view of ceaseless change.

It made me realize how little I know about the clouds I look at nearly every day, and discover that I wanted to learn about clouds. I couldn’t even recall the name for the study of clouds.

Nephology is the study of clouds, a subset of meteorology.

Nephology? No wonder I couldn’t recall it, I don’t think I have ever known that -ology. And cloud naming appears to be a mix and match affair, one that requires more than looking at a few photos to get an identification.

So for now, I’ll just go with:

Enjoy all the pretty clouds from the airplane window!

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”  ~ Pat Conroy

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”  ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Flying from Madison to NYC

“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown…”
~ Paul Theroux from The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road

Flying from Madison to NYC

“We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.”   ~ Khalil Gibran from The Prophet

Flying from Madison to NYC

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”  ~ C. JoyBell C.

Flying from Madison to NYC

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
~ Christopher McCandless

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”  ~ Wendell Berry from A Place on Earth

Experimenting – Actually, Mostly Playing – from an Airplane Window: Part II, Clouds, Clouds, Clouds

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?”
~ Sylvia Plath, from Ariel

Flying from Madison to NYC

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be?–it is the same the angels breathe.”
~ Mark Twain, from Roughing It

Flying from Madison to NYC

“We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky’ thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.”
~ Gavin Pretor-Pinney, from The Cloud-spotter’s Guide

Flying from Madison to NYC

Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Every bit of you has been replaced many times over… The point is that you are like a cloud: something that persists over long periods, whilst simultaneously being in flux. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made.”
~ Steve Grand

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Clouds suit my mood just fine.”
~ Marie Lu, from Champion

Flying from Madison to NYC

“There was a star riding through clouds one night, & I said to the star, ‘Consume me’.”
~ Virginia Woolf, from The Waves

Flying from Madison to NYC

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
~ Rabindranath Tagore, from Stray Birds

Grounded, Fiery, Drought and Ice – A Prairie Survival Guide to Beauty

Prairie Sky

Prairie Sky © 2014 Bo Mackison


Prairie survives the extremes.
Frigid winter, forty below, snow cover measured in feet
and blazing midsummer heat, a hundred degrees and more.
Tolerance to the extremes; hallmark of survival.

And always, always, the winds blow, fierce,
plants loose, nimble, they tolerate the constant forces.
Grasses, shrubs and forbs, some eight or ten feet high,
bend to the earth and still they survive,
not only survive, they thrive in these extremes.

Raging fires only strengthen the prairie. Re-birthing,
it knows survival when left to its natural course.
Let it burn, let it burn, fiercely burn; it seeds the earth.
The fire sustains.

Extra-ordinary, these plants. With sparse rain,
summer drought, the prairie conserves,
exposing only the most essential.
Two thirds hidden, it protects – deep-rooted,
stretching far into the darkest of depths.

Grounded and firm in their intention to hold on,
sucking moisture from the ages. Satiated.

Evolution’s choice, managing on just enough.
Just enough.


Heading Dead Straight into the Storm

Driving through Painted Desert

Heading into the Storm © 2014 Bo Mackison

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
~ Haruki Murakami