by Natalie Baack
I have an addiction. I can’t stop taking pictures of clouds over the LA skyline. You see, most of the year LA skys are blue. Just blue. Too blue. Opressive. Claustrophobic. Seemingly fake, like the backdrop of a film set.
As a Canadian, who grew up with all sorts of weather, I find this exptremely disconcerting. Most people, especially those who grew up in California, look at me like I’m crazy when I say this, but I really miss seasons. TERRIBLY. True, not enough to move back just yet, but enough to feel the longing.
Changes in weather mark time, they make it move somewhat slower. We can all think back to that year where there was that crazy snowstorm when everyone had to cross country ski to school or work, or the rainstorm that broke the tree branch on your favorite childhood tree (the one that you imagined building a treehouse in), or the changing leaves and how that one tree turned so red you thought it caught on fire. And most likely you can remember the age you were when it happened. But in LA, most of the days and months and years blend together. I’ve lived here for nearly ten years and at least 5 of them feel like they were the same year. Other than the crazy El Nino that dropped hail on us. Or the time it snowed in Malibu (Canadians would call it frost).
But I still wake up the week before Chrismas and before I open I my eyes and look out the window, I think “Will there be snow?!!” So I latch onto the little things. The little shifts. The moments that give the day dimention. The breezy clouds that flit across the sky in whisps, moving quickly, the dark and stormies that threaten to drop rain on frightened LA drivers, or the fluffy ones that look like cotton candy, or even…gasp… SNOW!!
And If it happens to be a particularly cold winter in LA (I mean, when it drops to 45 at night! Brrr!), we get the most amazing precipitous clouds that hover of the mountains and hug the buildings of downtown LA. And as LA is known for its amazing sunsets, the beauty increases ten-fold when these sunsets hit the shifting cumulous cloud formations. September is also a particularly good month – fire season.
So to remember these moments, to mark the time, I take out my iphone and snap away non-stop because as the clouds shifts and the sun sets, I gasp and think THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE THIS! Doesn’t anyone else see this?!! Hurry people! Look up or you’ll miss it!
But alas, they never quite capture the moment just so. Even with instagram filters, the depth, the shifting light, the glinting colors, they are just a little bit muted. But I’ll keep taking them. Because this way I can mark the time. I can remember that I took this one on Christmas Day, and that one after a fight with my boyfriend, or the day that I moved, or the day my nephew was born. And then maybe, just maybe, time will slow down a little because I stopped to take it in and take a picture.