Oodles and Oodles of Poodles
The Photo that Got Away.
Have you heard some of the stories about the fish that got away? Some of those stories are true. Well, I had a thousand poodles in the clouds and they all got away.
Unfortunately, I did not have my camera handy on the day when a thousand poodles were romping among the altocumulus clouds stretching for miles beneath the plane’s wing on which I was on board and flying into Honolulu in October of 2010. Those poodles were moving spritely between rows of clouds and large white cloud-freighters with smoke stacks. The standard-size poodles -- some white, some grey -- mingled exuberantly with the miniature and toy-size poodles. Each was handsomely coiffed.
The sun creates values of shadows like few artists can.
I did have my camera in the overhead compartment, but there was a young woman to my left in the aisle seat. I hadn’t wanted to bother her as she had her computer open, a movie playing and a headset on. (I had asked the ticket agent at the Phoenix airport for an aisle seat. He told me, "You got it." He was busy and I'm sure he thought he had put me in an aisle seat.)
I've looked at clouds from both sides now.
Poodles, Jumping and Pouncing, All in Play
The poodles were getting ready to jump, dash and pounce. Their rambunctious posturing allowed the afternoon sun’s rays to bounce into pockets of the poodley coats, creating a dozen different values of shadow on each canine’s back, ears, tail and head. We were above all of the activity of these one thousand romping poodles.
The sky was a pale blue. I told myself I would paint the scene after I arrived home. I tried to capture the images in my mind, but everything kept changing. And I wondered how it was that there were no Chihuahuas or Pomeranians or Malamutes – my favorite dogs – and there were no mixed breeds – my even-more-favorite dogs. So I looked, on purpose, for Cocker Spaniels and Australian Shepherds. I looked for Goldendoodles. There were none. Not even one Goldendoodle. There were only poodles! I closed my eyes, reopened them and tried again to see some other breeds of dogs because -- being a logical person -- I figured it had to be my brain doing this and therefore my brain should be able to see some other kinds of dogs if I tell it to. There were still only poodles. There were standard poodles, standard poodle puppies, miniature poodles and their puppies and toy poodles. There was every imaginable happy posture and stance of these big and little poodles.
Off in the distant clouds were the big white ships built of steamy cloud, streaming along fast-moving canals in the skyway. Most of the ships were shaped like old-time freighters. Some were like the old Canadian Pacific ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver, British Columbia years ago.
It was an amazing end to an otherwise routine flight between the mainland and Oahu that day in October, 2010. I will never forget it. I will also never be able to paint what I saw. I’ve tried and I cannot even come close. Yes, I think I should have bothered the young woman to let me by and then I could have reached up to get my camera. But I kept thinking the scene was going to disappear any moment. I didn’t want to miss an instant of it by getting up to reach my camera.
I’ve looked online the past couple of weeks to see if anyone has captured such a picture as the one I saw in the sky. I haven’t found any quite like it. Nothing nearly so grand, really. But I did discover a great website for people who like to photograph the images in the sky. The website is http://cloudappreciationsociety.org/
Cat in a Maui Sunrise. She's looking to the right.
How and Why did my Brain let me see a Thousand Poodles?
I think the human brain is awesome beyond description. I only use the word 'awesome' when I mean it literally. Apparently, from what I've read, even the smartest scientists cannot yet figure out all the workings and purposes of some of the areas of the human brain. The human brain is a mystery in many ways. And so, little unknowledgeable me wonders and tries to think how I could have seen what I saw and what brought it on.
My conclusions -- as I draw this hub out to a better word count -- were and still are that my brain treated me to a bit of a treat because I needed it. I had had a difficult time going to Arizona and then a difficult time having to leave Arizona and my grandchildren so soon.
The reason the trip over there to Arizona was difficult was because the purpose of my trip was to transport my daughter's family dog by plane. Our daughter and her family had moved from Maui to Arizona three months prior. Tika, their dog, stayed with us until the tarmac temperature would be low enough that a dog could be brought in to the Phoenix Airport. I forget the exact temperature it had to be -- before the airlines would accept a dog in the cargo area of the plane for transport.
Tika was home safely. It was party time.
Oh, how I dreaded the trip. The reason I dreaded the trip was I was so worried about Tika. Due to the fact there was only one particular airline we could use at that time of year which allowed the transport of dogs into Phoenix in October, I knew there would be a two-hour layover in Honolulu. Therefore, it would be a solid eleven hours from the time the airline people boarded her into the lower part of the plane and until we were able to get her out of her kennel and let her go visit the grass outside the Phoenix Airport. Eleven hours. I was looking pretty normal on that flight from Maui to Honolulu and then from Honolulu to Phoenix -- where we landed at midnight -- but I was not feeling normal. I was stressed to the max. One blessing I did appreciate, though, was while I was in the Honolulu Airport at the cafe, I could see the luggage handlers taking Tika's kennel, gently, and putting the kennel onto a moving set of shelves -- or something -- and transporting her to the next plane we were to get on. This was a giant relief to me because I had heard horror stories of people's animals being put on the wrong planes and ending up in Japan or Alaska. Seeing this through the window, up above the airport's tarmac, I felt so grateful to know Tika would be on the right plane. I only wished she could hear me and know I wasn't deserting her, Priscilla had not deserted her and everything would be fine in about seven more hours. She had seven more hours to go without any relief for her bladder.
Tika is a medium-sized dog. She's a brave girl. She made it through the eleven hours. She was ecstatic when she saw Priscilla, her pack leader, at midnight that night. Priscilla let her out, hugged her and soon took her outside to use the grass. Tika was too excited to care about using the grass. She held her bladder tightly for another two hours until we got to Priscilla's home -- Tika's new home -- way on the outskirts of town. If I'd known she could do that, I wouldn't have had such high blood pressure all the way there. I thought she was suffering. Well, how do we know she wasn't? She probably had been. The poor girl.
It's my thought or belief that my brain let me see all those poodles in the clouds as a bit of a gift. Yes, I realize they weren't really there, but the human brain is magnificently creative. My brain shadowed in all the right places in each cloud so I could see something beautiful as I finally began to relax. I was sad to have said goodbye to our family so soon, but relieved beyond words that Tika had been delivered safely to the person she loves the most on all the earth. I wouldn't pat myself on the back and say, 'Good job, Pamela' -- I just hadn't thought to do it, so my brain gave me a little party instead.
A hui hou.
Oodles and O-o-o-o-dles of Happy Poodles
Check Out the Society's Animal Cloud Photos
I've Looked at Clouds From Both Sides Now -- Joni Mitchell
© 2011 Pamela Dapples