White, grey or ominously black, clouds seem so very free. Vagabonds and wanderers, so much so that even Wordsworth started his famous Daffodils with, "I wandered lonely as a cloud." Lonely, yes, but still a wanderer.
We look down on them from airplanes and I watch them over the Jura mountains every day to get advance warning of the weather. I know that even if the sun is shining, a grey cloud, hovering like a cap over the mountain tops signals rain later in the day.
And then, yesterday, I saw a trapped cloud. A young cloud, white and fluffy, it was hemmed in by Le Saleve. It drifted all day from one side of the mountain to the other. Low to the ground it seemed to slink about trying to find a way out.
From a distance it was a smudge, from closer up, wispy and insubstantial--it is just condensed water after all--but real, so very real.
As evening advanced it shone white through the approaching dark. And we talked about the cloud captured by Le Saleve. It seemed tired out, more still somehow, as if it was giving up.
This morning it was gone. Free as a cloud again.