Sometimes it is nice to just stop and look at the clouds.

When my brothers and I were much smaller and younger, we had the great pleasure of having grandparents who owned more than an acre of land near San Antonio, where the hills rolled along the horizon.

On my dad’s side, my grandparents’ house had a slope in the yard that was perfect for rolling down and not spinning out into the street.

It was often the site of epic stick battles that concluded with the dramatic plunge of death off a hillside. While those memories between my brothers and I are stellar, they don’t compare to the times my entire family would lie out on the slope and gaze upward.

All of us would join together for that cliché family moment of staring at the daytime sky and picking out images found in the clouds. A turtle, a rabbit, a castle, a dragon were among the pictures we would pluck from the heavens.

My dad on occasion would call out the Enterprise, which would then send us scouring the sky for a Star Destroyer. If you’ve never noticed, shapes resembling obtuse triangles, mostly stretched to the extreme, sometimes are an easy find when gazing upward.

Looking back, it is funny to see how much I could have learned about my family from the images they spotted among the clouds if I would have paid attention back then. My father, for instance, always has been a science-fiction buff, and to this day, even in his 50s, he manages to out-tech all his children.

Just the other night, he was giving me a lesson about the best tablet on the market before I even said I was researching them. Turns out he was going to buy the newest model, and was talking about its specs because of his own interest before I set in with, “I was looking at this brand and model.” Oh no, he said, this brand has a higher definition screen and is about $100 cheaper.

Now that I think I about it, during our cloud watching, I don’t think he ever described the location of a mundane animal. All of his clouds were based in science fiction and sometimes even fantasy. My younger brother is named Morgan, by the way, and was almost a Merlin.

But enough about the past. The last couple of summers haven’t been that great for testing your imagination on the clouds. They have been pretty barren, with nothing but everlasting, bright blue skies. Those clear skies are nice in their own right, but not nearly as fun for me as a cloud-filled heaven.

This summer, with random rainfall and slightly cooler temperatures, has seen a menagerie of clouds awaiting to be declared as something more then dust particles and water vapor floating there.

While I haven’t taken the family out to a hillside to have our cliché movie moment, I have found myself taking in the clouds’ many shapes and illusions.

It has been a test to see if my imagination is still as young as it once was. But more importantly, I think it has reminded me to take deep breaths and relax during the ever-so-busy days that have become too regular for the average person.

It has been calming to drive down the highway to work and see a collection of chess pieces or ever-so-common sheep floating across the sky.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

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