The weather has been nice lately, but a week ago, we sure had a lot of cloudy days. The song, “Cloudy,” has enchanted me since I first heard it in high school. In the summer of 1968 or 69 (I can’t remember which,) I attended a music and art “camp” located on the campus of the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, KS. I lived in one of the dorms on “Daisy Hill” and had a wonderful time playing in a band every day and taking music theory classes. At the end, there were all these wonderful concerts to attend. The “arts” represented included all kinds of visual arts, writing and dance, and the arts kids created a memory book in which they put lots of photographs of various camp activities, interspersed with words from the song, “Cloudy” and other songs from this album. I remember a picture of some ballet students that had the caption, “These clouds stick to the sky like floating questions, why? They don’t know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.” It seemed a very apt caption, because a lot of us were so young and we really did not have any idea where we were going… yet.
Here’s a link to the tune, in case you’d like to hear it.
Cloudy Paul Simon/Bruce Woodley
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (3rd album) released October 1966
The sky is gray and white and cloudy.
Sometimes I think it’s hanging down on me.
It’s hitchhike a hundred miles,
I’m a rag-a-muffin child.
Pointed finger, painted smile.
I left my shadow waiting down the road for me a while.
My thoughts are scattered and they’re cloudy;
They have no borders, no boundaries.
They echo and they swell
From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell.
Down from Berkeley to Carmel.
Got some pictures in my pocket and a lot of time to kill.
I haven’t seen you in a long time.
Why don’t you show your face and bend my mind?
These clouds stick to the sky
Like floating questions, why?
They linger there to die.
They don’t know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.
My favorite is the middle stanza. Especially when I wake up in the morning, I feel that my thoughts are scattered like clouds in the sky, and that they have no borders or boundaries, as they morph from one thing to another. I love the freedom I now have to just let my mind wander this way. The last time I had time to just think nothing in particular was the summer after I graduated from high school. I remember lying on a blanket on the grass with a Japanese foreign exchange student friend of mine named Kyoko. We were looking up at the sky through a canopy of green leaves and watching the clouds. I remember thinking that I would probably never have the free time to do this again, and I was right, except that I forgot about retirement. Well, no recent high school graduate thinks about retirement. Maybe that was a good thing, because if I’d realized I would have all this wonderful free time to just sit and think, I would have spent too much time longing for it and I might not have appreciated the “busy-ness” of my college and working life, without which I could not as deeply appreciate my freedom in retirement. 🙂