Thursday, August 20, 2009


Joni Mitchell wrote a song in March 1967 which has a lovely tune, not often heard these days, except in Muzak form I suppose. "Both Sides Now" came to mind yesterday as I was wandering around Summer Camp - North. Here are the lyrics:

Rows and flows of angel hair,
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feather canyons everywhere,
I've looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the Sun,
They rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow,
It's cloud illusions I recall,
I really don't know clouds, at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real.
I've looked at love that way.

But now it's just another show,
You leave 'em laughing when you go.
And if you care, don't let them know.
Don't give yourself away.

I've looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take, and still somehow,
It's love's illusions I recall.
I really don't know love, at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
To say I love you right out loud.
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I've looked at life that way.

But now old friends are acting strange.
They shake their heads; they say I've changed.
Well something's lost but something's gained,
In living every day.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose and still somehow,
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life, at all.

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow,
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life, at all.

Every so often in Iraq we'd have a cloudy sky (from real clouds, not from the dust), and even more infrequently, the clouds would be large fluffy cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. I'd point them out to my friends and say, "Look! Michigan clouds!"

Here at Summer Camp - North we have lots of "Michigan clouds" though we're not in Michigan. Close enough, though.

The sky here is incredibly blue, compared to the sky out west, and when populated by these large and impressive cloud formations, it's strangely calming.

Despite the fact that it's been raining on us as we're walking to and fro, or just standing in formations, it's been really enjoyable, if a bit cold at times. The rains come and go, so the sky darkens and then clears and then darkens again. Much more interesting, generally speaking, than the skies in Iraq -- except at sunrise or sunset, which were usually quite breathtaking.

So I was reminded of Joni Mitchell's song, which I can't stop humming.

I really don't know clouds, at all.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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HighJump said...

Clouds is one of my all time favorite songs; the rendition that I'm most used to is by Judy Collins, who does a lot of Joni's stuff.
I find it incredibly evocative, as much music is for me. Now I'll have it in my head for the rest of the day..
There are far worse things to be stuck there!!

HighJump said...

The name of the song is Both Sides Now, but it's all about clouds, at the literal level. But, much deeper in the spiritual domain;)

Unknown said...

The same song has the same effect on me, I've always know it is a song sung to the Spirit that moves in us all. Glad to read you're having south of Michigan weather, and a lovely tune in your mind!

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