V: Oh, over there, way to the west over the lake, those clouds. Looks like horses with their
Y: Must be some fast air up there and warm from baking under the sun all day. Looks pretty
unstable. Tonight when it cools off it’ll find its boundaries and create a stasis. By
morning, all that water will come down and we’ll have fog in the low fields.
‘Cold and water go down, warm and air rise up,’ That’s so old and so true it’s probably
from the Iroquois.
V: Why don’t they just catch the weather channel.
Y: That’s just uncouth, Veronica. Our old timers might say the same thing but with different
imagery, like this: ‘Grampa’s bones hurt, wet acomin’, but when you smell the corner, air’s
V, A little green in the gills: The corner? Smell?
Y: Yea, over where the dog sleeps or where the gunney sack was laying all these years
under the steamer trunk for the mice to hide. But that fish scale looking cloud over there
to the south; its message is: ‘Mackerel sky, wet turns dry; mackerel sky, dry turns wet.’
V: Poof, that’s just trying to have it all both ways at once.
Y: It’s just a saying, means a change is coming. But the more esoteric crowd would say:
‘Mackerel sky, speaking and listening, same as a leaf.’
V: What, who made that up; anachronistic, an abaration even, numbingly stupid.
Y: It’s similar to the idea that air and water communicate; speak and listen to each other,
react to each other. Also that clouds and trees take the same shape. They are two
manifestations of nature of the same architype.
V: Got to be an anomaly, Yolanda, for sure.
Y: My dear, you are locked into a materialist myopia, open yourself finally in your old age.
Things can be remembered and understood by naming them. You know about
pneumonic tricks and use them all the time. The ancients paid attention and named
what they saw, it was: ‘Oh yea, I’ve seen this before, Grandma’s cranky or we’re all
feeling boyant today.’ They looked for patterns. They developed organs of perception,
antennae. When nature sighs they know it and give it names. A ring around the moon,
old wounds, all give hints. When the mouton clouds or the muma grist are shaped
like sheep’s udders with a stormy nipple and they’re active, then it’s: ‘When sheep fight
together then beware of stormy weather.’ All this was observed at the speed of a tree
growing. Some of those ancients could watch glass slump, could swim inside of rocks.
They were connected to the great mother. ‘Buttermilk sky is a lowering sky.’ That’s a
V: Just a whim.
Y: No. Right now is the right time to pay attention. All of nature is calling upon us to
understand. My old great aunt said: ‘Pray at the pump before you put in the gas.’ She was
fully conscious of how our daily doings connect to nature. She’d say: ‘Lighting the candle,
money in the bank, setting the table, gas in the tank.’ She wanted to remember that these
mundane things carry gteat weight.
V: I’m chastened.
Now Yolanda rolls over on the couch and wraps Veronica in her arms, laughing.
Y: They’d also say: ‘When the red bird poops red and the blue nird poops blue then the
berries are ripe on the vine and dinner is on you.’
V: That can’t possibly be true, now you’re pulling my chain.
She throws a pillow. Says: And I’ve heard ’em say: ‘If the stove glows hot like a cracklin
rose, be nice to her.’ Look out here come an Alberta clipper. She jumps on Yolanda and
starts smacking her with the pillow.