Curiosity, my chosen muse, speaks to me in the clouds.

What hides in the wonder of clouds?

The small, blond-haired girl lay in the grass, watching the sky above her. Nestled in the freshly mown grass, she wondered about the clouds floating above her. Why were some fat and fluffy? She loved finding animals and objects in those clouds.

fluffy white and gray clouds show shapes in the wonder of clouds

But then there were scary clouds that haunted her imagination. Thin streaky clouds that looked like fish bones made her want to look away or cover her eyes until the cloud mysteriously disappeared. 

Clouds against a blue sky reflected in the water

Years passed, and the child grew up. Her fascination with the sky and clouds remained. Now, they become fodder for her creativity. Her curiosity expanded as her knowledge of the marvelous universe revealed the ecosystems and interrelationships between humans and the natural world.

In addition to her eyes, she uses the camera lens to capture animals, colors, and shapes that evoke all manner of emotions. Every day, the sky, clouds, sun, and moon open the door for exploration and spark her creative muse.

black storm clouds reflect against the sun in shades of gray, orange, and pink

I’ve always gazed at the sky.

When we moved to a more rural area with wide-open expanses for sky viewing, my love of the sky took on a new dimension. I could see beyond a narrow sliver between crowded rooftops and trees. I began taking photographs of stunning sunsets, misty sunrises, and storm-brewing clouds.

Inspiration snuck in through those clouds and found its way into my writing. I don’t necessarily write about the sky or clouds. Instead, my attention evolved into intentions to share the thoughts and learning that came from sitting quietly embraced by the sky.

sunset clouds streaked with shades of pink, orange, and gray against a blue sky

Featuring my photographs in my articles linked what I saw in the world to the stories and snippets I wrote. As an amateur photographer, I never considered using what I captured as the content of my articles. 

Until, I learned two lessons.

I came across a fellow writer and photographer, G. M. Michele. Her stunning photos and words gave me the courage to share the inspiration of my photography through words and images. I learned two valuable questions to ask before pressing the shutter. G.M. invited me to look more deeply at my past work and how I view the scenes before me now.

1. What story are you telling in this image?

Every single time I get my camera out, I’m always asking myself the question my mentors first posed to me, “what does this photo say?” —G.M. Michele

2. How can you create an experience of emotion for yourself and others?

For me, I am very sense-oriented, so I look to create work that evokes my senses and connects them to themes or experiences … By evoking the senses through various experiences, we can create photography that makes us feel something.—G.M. Michele

Before writing, I always think of those questions. Still, I never applied them to using my camera as a creative endeavor. 

My big AHA!

My creativity doesn’t pose an “either-or” decision. Words and images mingle to create experiences that evoke emotion or response in the reader/viewer. 

Is there more to learn? Absolutely. My amateur status as a writer and photographer may never change, but my awakening to new possibilities has just begun.

From a child’s eye view of the clouds emerged a creative muse that continues to inspire and tell stories. What lies ahead?

Perhaps the clouds know. 

sunrise against a blue sky with streaks of clouds with a blooming red bud tree in the foreground and a white fence marking the landscape

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photos by Author

And a special thanks to Samantha Lazar and Christina M. Ward for their inspiring May Writing Experience