South of the Clouds

At around 18,000 feet, the sky was like a fluffy white meringue pie. We are about to land in Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan. If we literally translate Yunnan which is always a good starting point because the meaning of things is never an accident, it means ‘south of the clouds.’

We have already landed, but I would do anything to ascend again and be among the sea of clouds. To me it was like coming out of a snow palace into a crowded thoroughfare. I have never seen more spectacular clouds formations than in Yunnan. And while the province has a fixed domicile and P.O Box , the clouds do not.

I’ve spent hours watching clouds from the ground up, riding my bike through rice fields and stopping to pause and just watch. Anmol Mehta's beautifully crafted essay titled ‘On the Meaning of Beauty” reminds me that when we behold something wonderful, we should not be in a hurry to describe or freeze it in time with our cameras, but just observe without imposing our thoughts on it. On the late summer afternoon, a story came to mind:

Two Zen monks were arguing about a flag. One said, "The flag is moving." The other said, "The wind is moving." The Sixth Patriarch happened to be passing by and he told them, "Not wind, not flag; mind is moving."

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