For today’s photograph in Linda Shovan’s FOPP, I opted to write a prose response, rather than a poem. Something about this massive smooth boulder spoke to me of clouds and legend. I may rework it in days to come and update it here. This deadline business is for the birds and work is intruding on my writing time!
The Origin of the White Boulder
Long ago, not at the beginning, but soon thereafter, when the earth was young and the green of the land blazed against a brilliant blue sky, the clouds lived at peace with the sky and the land. Though the world was new, they understood that they were irrevocably joined and that each one enhanced the other. And for many, many years, all was peaceful and the clouds and skies drifted over the land and the people were happy.
Then one day a small cloud formed. It drifted through the sky, forming, reforming, shape-shifting as small clouds do. It rode the air currents and came and went as the sky the land and the elder clouds bid it.
But as time passed, this small cloud grew and as he grew, he began to change. Instead of drifting with the other clouds above the land, dancing over lakes and mountaintops, he sought to make mischief. Day after day he drew close to the land to form great, dense banks of fog. He laughed as he hid the fleecy white sheep from the farmers and the ports from weary sailors seeking safe harbor.
And at last Land grew tired of his pranks and spoke to him coldly, saying, “Go back to your place, Young Cloud. Leave the people be.”
In his pride the cloud thought, “Who is Land to order me about? For I am far more powerful than she. I can cover the tops of the mountains, hide the sea, and block the very rays of the sun.”
And in his anger he covered the land, blocking her from the sky and from the sun’s light. Day after day he refused to leave and each day he spread further and higher. Land grew ever more angry and rumbled her warnings and laughter no longer drifted on the breeze from the homes of the people.
Weeks passed and the plants began to sag and rot in the earth and the people wept. Still Young Cloud would not leave and in his pride and arrogance, he ignored the final warnings of Sky, Land, and Clouds. At last, the Clouds gathered, dark with fury, and thundered their displeasure at him. The earth trembled below him and the sky lit with flashes of lightning.
And in that instant, banished, Young Cloud tumbled from the sky to the earth, transformed from lightest vapor to heaviest boulder. And there he remains, forever immobile, earthbound. And once again Cloud, Land and Sky lived in harmony and the people were happy.