’Round Town


Wed, 08/03/2022 - 7:30am

Recently, Joni Mitchell (no relation that I know of) performed at the Newport Folk Festival, 53 years after her first appearance there. It was a very moving and inspirational performance after she had suffered a serious debilitating brain aneurysm.

During her performance, Ms. Mitchell sang one of my favorite all time songs, “Both Sides Now,” which considers the artist’s impressive interactions with clouds and their personal influences. It has always been a very moving song for me, an admirer of clouds — their movements, colors and ever changing formations.

For those of us who live here, summer here and visit, this year has been one of many magnificent cloud formations. At practically any time of day, and night, clouds have managed to fill and empty the skies in unique and colorful ways. The great cumulus giants often associated with impending storms have moved around the region with regularity. There have been swirling high clouds and wispy layered fast moving low ones, and a never ending parade of colorful kaleidoscopic transitions similar to the one pictured above. I have been fascinated by clouds since I was a child and have made many photographs over the years watching the skies. During my brief but eventful stretch with the carnival, I was taught to look down because that’s where people dropped their money. During that spell I missed some clouds as we wandered about the northeast via trucks and train!

The words of Joni Mitchell ring true with some of the lyrics of her famous song which I’d like to share. I believe she and I had a similar fascination. That is probably the extent of our similarities as we have wandered our way though life. Her words however, still apply and remind me also of “both sides now.”

“Rows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air and feather canyons everywhere, looked at clouds that way ... I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now from up and down and still somehow. It’s clouds illusions I recall. I really don’t know clouds at all.”