“Form is certainty. All nature knows this, and we have no greater adviser. Clouds have forms, porous and shape-shifting, bumptious, fleecy. They are what clouds need to be, to be clouds. See a flock of them come, on the sled of the wind, all kneeling above the blue sea. And in the blue water, see the dolphin built to leap, the sea mouse skittering, see the ropy kelp with its air-filled bladders tugging it upward; see the albatross floating day after day on its three-jointed wings. Each form sets a tone, enables, a destiny, strikes a note in the universe unlike any other. How can we ever stop looking? How can we ever turn away?”
—Mary Oliver, from “Staying Alive” in Blue Pastures (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995)
Photograph: Quintin Lake, Coast to Coast 1: Storm Clouds over the Irish Sea, n.d.