I was reminded tonight of the fabulous Joni Mitchell Song
Both Sides Now
This line stuck, stuck hard in my throat, my head, in every little bit of me
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
There’s an image I adore.
Looking up, canopied in mortal existence, trapped in the humdrum, greyed everyday, rained upon by life’s vicissitudes. It is easy
It is SO easy
to forget the great beyond, the richness, the infinite blue yonder while squeezed into the moment underneath.
The drag of clouds on anyone’s outlook, the constant, unremitting winter of morbid thoughts
It is SO EASY to be lost in that fog
To be jailed by self limiting perception.
Perception is so important.
In quantum mechanics, the Uncertainty Principle has it that the better you know the position of a particle, the less you know the speed it is travelling
And vica versa
But once you know both sides of the clouds, once you are up there, outwith the mediocre, the mundane, the daily toil
Once you know the other side of the clouds
Life is possible; life is not uncertain. Speed and position become one, become a continuum. They aren’t uncertain. This particle life, that’s uncertain. Life just is. But on the other side of the clouds it’s sun and sky and Moons and Junes; it’s whatever you want it to be. You just have to reach… REACH. No limits. The clouds are your base now, your starting off place, no more a prison that a launchpad. The freedom to be you, to be anyone, anything – that’s what the other side of the clouds permits. Demands. Go see the other side of the clouds. It’s wonderful up there.
This poem was written by a Spitfire pilot – an American, who joined the Royal Canadian air force in 1939 to fight tyranny before the US entered the war – he who fought and died, aged 19 in 1941. Briefly he understood what it is to be on both sides of the clouds
John Gillespie Magee
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Life is calling people. Go grab it.