Weekly Skylights (Sept. 22): The Tripod Looks to the Clouds

4 min read

Joey Cifelli ’23

A&E Editor

September 16, 2020. Photo courtesy of Joey Cifelli ’23.

A little bird flies in the open air, surrounded by nothing, a little gray speck in an ocean of blue. Through the howling winds and freezing rain the little bird flies, through hail bigger than its own feathered body it goes. A little bird picking up twigs along the way in the endless blue, clutched in its talons and beak. On the sunny days, the few of them, it flutters down and perches on a branch for a while, sleepy and content. In the storms, the many of them, the little bird is buffeted wildly and falls from view more than once. It has dropped more twigs than it can remember, and still it gathers more. And one day, when the sky is speckled with clouds, and there isn’t so much wind, and the air is warm and comfy, the little bird glides down to a little crook in a strong, towering tree, builds itself a little nest and settles into it, and after sitting there for a time with drooping eyelids and slowing breath, drifts into sleep for a long, long time. 8.8/10

September 17, 2020. Photo courtesy of Joey Cifelli ’23.

What’s behind the static on your television? A blank screen, perhaps? If you could pull it back, suck it up with a vacuum cleaner maybe, or push your fingers into the fuzzy, prickly snow and split it open, what would you find looking back at you, trying so hard to hide itself from view? Your reflection: as shocked as you are. A distorted cloud, shedding static like a cat in spring. All the channels that aren’t in your package, or anyone else’s. Maybe there’s nothing there at all, not even a screen, and you crawl inside and tumble down into the black plastic darkness until eventually you reach the bottom, the wall covered in the same hissing static, and you pull it apart to find yourself staring back at you, the reflection on the other side of the screen. 6.4/10

September 18, 2020. Photo courtesy of Joey Cifelli ’23.

Not to shock anyone, but you may have noticed that clouds have different textures. Common adjectives to describe these may be wispy, and that’s all I can think of right now. The very long cloud taking up the bottom portion of the photograph has a particular texture that to me must be like a dense, chewy power bar. The kind that you can bite into and pull a few feet away from your mouth and some strands of peanut butter or nougat still connect the pieces. And that makes me wonder what a cloud tastes like. I won’t be so cliché and say marshmallow, that’s overdone and frankly not very interesting. I’m saying something with the texture of popcorn with no kernel, and it’s probably rich and buttery, with a hint of vanilla. Good hot or cold. 7.6/10

September 19, 2020. Photo courtesy of Joey Cifelli ’23.

Another abyss today. Another endless gaze into the void. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate these cloudless days, but there’s only so much you can say about them before you start to go numb in the brain. I feel similarly about minimalism as a general principle. It’s refreshing to see once or twice, every so often, but once everyone starts doing it something gets lost in the excitement. Or lack thereof, I should say. So, today, instead of spinning up a tale or a poem or something or other, I think I’ll leave you with a little saying: a blank abyss is dismal bliss, and no one wants that feeling, better to paint and miss than reminisce, and feel your soul start healing. 7.2/10


Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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