Chronicling the Days – Lis McLoughlin

Welcome to QWF series ‘Chronicling the Days’, specifically for this strange uneasy time of coronavirus and pandemic, of social distancing and self isolation, of lockdown and quarantine.

In April 2020, we invited writers in Quebec to submit a story – of a single day at this time, because while we’re all living through this time, we know that we’re not all living through it in the same way. To stay connected – to know how we’re getting on. Every story valid.

Submissions have now closed for the series but we’ll be continuing to publish the pieces throughout May. Keep an eye for them here, or join us on the QWF FB Community page, and let the authors know if their words resonated.

This piece is by Lis McLoughlin, writing on April 11, 2020.

Photo: Lis McLoughlin, Terceira, the Azores

Night Clouds

As I write the moon is shining brightly. For the last two mornings, predawn, the sky has been clear and the moon illuminates clouds that quickly pass, as if in the day. So odd to see these extraordinary night-time clouds acting exactly the same as mundane day-time ones. Somehow I anticipate a certain amount of furtiveness, but no, they sail quietly, dignified and white as their normal daytime selves. Which then strikes me as eerie; the boldness of them to stalk across the dark sky open to the stars, the universe, not waiting for Earth’s atmosphere to turn opaque in the sun, to enclose them in a softly sheltering backdrop of blue or grey.

At a time we can’t see most people’s faces, my friends half-hidden under their masks even in the outdoors as we walk, the boldness of these night-time clouds makes me feel small, and happy, as if Nature is asserting her timelessness, is taking over again from human tampering, as if there’s a post- to this little apocalypse.

So far we’re surviving here OK, and I am as grateful as ever for the woods, more so as they filter the world away. My urban friends are not so lucky. They write to me of how the human-centered world has failed them, how the crowded streets menace, how they are stranded in boxes in too close proximity. How they long for the open air.

And I picture them as clouds. And wish them freedom of the day and night, and acknowledgement or discovery of the essential in them that does not change. And I hope they can find what I am fortunate to have: Earth and sky with all the animate creatures therein—day and night.

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