As a child, I believed that angels lived in the clouds above us. Remembered reverie calls to me now across the vast expanse of space and time as I am drawn to those hours spent lying on my back in green summer grass, riding in a car as an idle child passenger, or stretching my sight along the vast expanse of ocean to a distant place where the water meets those castles in the sky. Wherever my daydreams caught me, I would invariably find my mind seduced by the clouds. Even now, I still retain a hint of juvenile fascination for the sight of ivory nebulae rising from an impossible foundation of crystalline sky.


Like every child, I tended to anthropomorphize the world around me. Consequently, my imagination filled those billowing colonnades with legions of angels, fantastical beings whose beauty could not be contained on this mortal earth. As I would gaze upon the clouds, I would dream of the wondrous creatures who must inhabit such magnificent structures. In my mind's eye, I would see beautiful faces with angelic grace shining through virtuous smiles and loving eyes. If I strained my childish ear toward those celestial towers, I was sure to detect the
distant strains of divine melodies sung by the lilting voices and delicate harps of a divine orchestra. Surely, those sweet songs promised that this world was underwritten by a sacred schema of triumphant benevolence.

But my visions were shattered by my first remembered passage on a airplane. My mother, ever the pillar of generosity, deferred the window seat to me for our flight across the country. The day must have been ripped from a postcard as the crisp, cerulean sky hosted a perfect row of ivory columns hung with golden trails of subdued sunbeams. As we barreled down the runway, my anticipation grew as I felt the plane lift off of the ground and begin to carry me closer to those envisioned palaces and their angelic tenants. My body sank deeply into my seat as the plane tilted sharply into the sky, its nose aimed directly for the billowing clouds. My heart leapt in my chest as we ascended through the atmosphere, the soft white walls of the celestial kingdom drawing ever closer. I held my breath as the plane prepared to enter the heavenly landing as the walls of the kingdom rushed at my window. Suddenly, the blue sky disappeared and we plunged headlong into the heart of the cloud. We had arrived at the threshold of the angels.


My eyes strained at the airplane window, struggling to pierce the impenetrable blanket of grey mist. Disappointment began to wash over me as the moments continued to slip by and those beautiful angels failed to materialize. My heart sank to realize the reality of this grey void where no wings beat time to a divine melody. Try as I might, my eyes failed to discern even the slightest glimmer of gold from an angel's harp. The scene outside my window resembled nothing more exotic than a common dreary fog along the seashore; I nearly expected my father's fishing boat to part the mists with its sonorous, lowing fog horn.

I was lost in morose reflection at this revealed disappointment when my mother, sensing my distress, gently touched my arm and asked me what was wrong. I turned toward her, ready to lament the lackluster reality of my imagined celestial kingdom where angels sang and beauty reigned. But the words died on my lips as the plane suddenly broke through the upper reaches of the clouds and bright sunlight poured into the cabin. My mother's eyes caught a sunbeam and shimmered like two green emeralds as she lifted her countenance to smile in the sunshine. It was then that I realized that I did not need those seraphic visions to materialize as I saw the angel seated at my side. There is no need for supernatural beings of fancy when we become aware of the angels among us. I smiled back at my mother and assuaged her concern before turning back to the window where a truly marvelous spectacle awaited my eyes.

Here, at the upper reaches of the atmosphere was a sight reserved for those of us fortunate enough to fill an airplane seat. A downy blanket of pure white spread beneath the plane as the sunlight blazed in unhindered glory; the air was so clear that I imagined I could see straight into the vast expanse of the universe. Here I saw the true beauty of lucidity as those formerly seductive clouds now lay beneath me, a simplistic backdrop to the pure elegance of the sunlit sky. My childhood dreams of angels may have been destroyed, but I had gained a wholly new and more valuable perspective. This newfound vista of true, clear beauty was better than anything I could have ever imagined while stuck on the ground staring at the undersides of clouds.


Reason is the airplane that delivers an incomparable view of reality to those of us who choose to take flight. The wonders of the universe are truly magnificent to behold if we can only rise above the alluring artifice of fantasy. We are already surrounded by the fabric of our dreams; it is only a matter of seeing past the clouded fallacy to the true beauty of reality.

Views: 111

Comment by Cara Coleen on May 30, 2010 at 7:55pm
Wow... Shine... did you write this? What a beautiful story! Now featured!

Comment by Shine on May 30, 2010 at 8:40pm
Thanks, Cara! I jotted it down at work the other day, or at least the rudiments of the piece. :)
Comment by Petra Polovina on June 2, 2010 at 2:22am
Well said... Reality really is intrinsically wonderful to those perceptive enough to lift the "magic veil" that claims to give reality its meaning.
Comment by Laura on June 2, 2010 at 3:14pm
This reminds me of the lyrics to "Fallen," by Bree Sharp:

Lucy is gazing, out into space
She has starry eyes, starry eyes
That light up her face, like an angel.
Little girl, little girl questioning me.
She says, "Why doesn't everyone
Have what they need?

Where are the angels, angels, angels,
Where are the angels, angels, angels"

"I can not tell you, my little darling.
All my faith has fallen, fallen, fallen."

The stars in Lucy's eyes
Run down her cheek like
Teardrops of fire still her voice is
As sweet as an angel.
She says, "Where is the place that
The good souls go, where they take away,
Take away the pain that they know?

Where are the angels, angels, angels?
Where are the angels, angels, angels?";

"I can not tell you, my little darling.
All my faith has fallen, fallen, fallen."

Ashes to ashes, we all fall down.
Ashes to ashes, we all fall down.
If I could take, the world in my arms,
I'd take all the wrong and I'd fly,
Fly, fly.

Yes, I'd like to know,
where the good souls go.
Where are the angels, angels, angels?
Where are the angels, angels, angels?

I can not tell you, my little darling.
All my faith has fallen, fallen, fallen.

I can not tell you, my little darling.
All my faith has fallen, fallen, fallen.
Comment by Johnny on June 6, 2010 at 9:59am
Comment by FTLebanon on June 6, 2010 at 10:30am
"My mother's eyes caught a sunbeam and shimmered like two green emeralds as she lifted her countenance to smile in the sunshine. It was then that I realized that I did not need those seraphic visions to materialize as I saw the angel seated at my side."

This gave me goosebumps!

...A beautiful read! Thank you :)
Comment by M on June 6, 2010 at 1:38pm
"Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic
Orders? And even if one were to suddenly
take me to its heart, I would vanish into its
stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but
the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear,
and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terror."
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Duino Elegies"
Comment by Shine on June 7, 2010 at 10:10pm
Thanks! I love the poems that were quoted. :)
Comment by Martin Pribble on June 7, 2010 at 11:55pm
You are amazing... really...
Comment by Shine on June 9, 2010 at 9:42am
*Blush* Thanks, Martin!

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