“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in (every) sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot growl and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist.” Thich Nhat Hanh
What a sage Buddhist, author, and teacher – and how lovely Thich Nhat Hanh’s words of wisdom are! They remind us to remember that every blank page holds a bit of magic within it. Every piece of paper we write upon connects us, not just with the worlds inside us, but with the world beyond the page – with the clouds, the rain, trees and everything in nature.
When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters and I used to write notes to each other in secret codes: We would take toothpicks, dip them in lemon juice, and write a note on a piece of paper. It was invisible to the eye. Then my brother would take them for us and hold the papers a few inches above a candle and when the heat hit the lemon juice, words would slowly appear on the page, scrawled in brown ink. How magical this seemed to me!
How magical writing still seems to me!
Sometimes, I like to think of a blank page as an invisible cipher with a message secretly encoded in it. And my job as a writer is to unravel the code within it – the words that are already hidden, like clouds and trees, right in the page, just waiting for me to reveal them.
How wonderful to think that as we write, we are communing with clouds, rain, trees – all the world around us! And that if we simply get out of our own way, then we will find that secret message woven into the fibers of a page – the one we’re meant to see and share.
So let’s be cloud poets today. Let’s remember as we come to the page that there’s a bit of magic within it, just waiting for us – and all write on.