Clouds After the Rainstorm
Mountain View & Palo Alto, CA

Photos of Clouds & Haikus
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

By Peter Y. Chou

Preface: "Bay Area Swamped— Season's first storm is unrelenting, one of strongest in 50 years" was the headline of October 14, 2009 issue of San Jose Mercury News. "By 5 pm, Tuesday, this storm had dropped 2.22 inches of rain in San Jose in the previous 24-hour period, while Oakland received 3.86 inches, San Francisco 2.48 inches, and Santa Cruz 3.16 inches, breaking a 1957 record of 2.49 inches. The last October storm of this magnitude hit the region in 1962." (See Slide Show). Yesterday, despite the heavy rainstorm, some 200 people showed up for Matthieu Ricard's talk "The Roots of Altruism" at McCaw Hall, Arrillaga Alumni Center at 7:30 pm. I arrived at 7 pm and got a second row seat, saw the beautiful slide show of scenic Tibet, wisdom faces of masters, and smiling faces of children, prior to his lecture. Ricard spoke extemporaneously without notes from his heart and told us that our true nature is not selfishness but altruism, compassion, and kindness. Scientific tests have shown that Ricard is the happiest man in the world. I certainly felt his overflowing joy chatting with him afterwards. I've been joyful ever since embarking on the spiritual quest and meeting sages who shared with me their wisdom and compassion. This last month, I've been especially blessed by "Mother Bird" that sits on an eucalyptus tree outside of my kitchen window which inspired this poem. Yesterday, during the monster storm, the eucalyptus tree was shaking violently, its branches and leaves tossing wildly in the wind like some raving beast. I couldn't see "Mother Bird" in its calm composure as usual communing with me eye-to-eye at breakfast. Today when I looked out of my window, to my chagrin, Mother Bird is gone— gone with the wind, gone, gone, gone— gone to the other shore. I went out to the porch, and snapped a photo of its demise as a momento of how distraught I am missing my breakfast companion. Perhaps the wind didn't break off its head that is now covered by other branches. Considering the damages suffered by so many in the Bay Area by yesterday's storm, I should be content that my dwelling was not flooded or experienced loss of electricity. I took my camera with me today on my way to Stanford and photographed some clouds in the sky. Just before the Art Library, a tiny bird hopped out to the sidewalk chirping to me. I told it "Please stay little bird so I may take your photo." It obliged, and my last photo shows how my sadness turned to joy on the day after the storm. Addendum: Two days after the storm, the sun shone brightly on Thursday, October 15. When I went to the porch to pick up the newspaper and glanced to the eucalyptus tree, what a surprise— Mother Bird is back! A bit bruised from the strong winds and monster storm— its head is bumpy and no longer smooth, its eye seems to be missing, but its beak and body are still intact. I took a photo of Mother Bird's resurrection as well as a Dragon Cloud in the western sky. On leaving my apartment, I paused to contemplate the "Light descending the staircase" and ponder more on little bird's message when it sang to me "Keep steadfast— Go on with the Work!"

Click on Photos for Enlarged Images

Monday, September 7, 2009, 10:45 am
Mountain View: Mother Bird made
from eucalyptus tree branches outside
my kitchen window inspiring a poem

Mother Bird outside
my kitchen window—
flew from sky to sing to me.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:14 pm
Mountain View: Mother Bird is gone
from eucalyptus tree after the storm
or did some branches cover its head?

36 days communing
with me at breakfast—
Mother Bird is gone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:21 pm
Mountain View, El Camino & Ortega Ave.
"Triangle of Light" covered by dark clouds
just before boarding Bus #22 to Stanford

Bear Cloud moving fast
and ate up the "Triangle
of Light" for his lunch.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:46 pm
Palo Alto, El Camino & Galvez Street
"Peacock Cloud" or "Swan Cloud"?

"Peacock Cloud" spreading
its feathers or is this the
"Swan Cloud" singing its song?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:47 pm
Palo Alto, El Camino & Galvez Street
Dark storm clouds over Stanford Stadium

Yesterday's rainstorm was
strongest in 50 years—
Are there more rain to come?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:48 pm
Palo Alto, El Camino & Galvez Street
White cloud rises above dark clouds

"White Cloud" rises above
dark clouds— may purity
reign after the storm!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:50 pm
Palo Alto, El Camino & Galvez Street
"Dragon Cloud" over Stanford Stadium

"Dragon Cloud" brought lots
of rain yesterday— please
stop and give us some rest!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:52 pm
Palo Alto, El Camino & Galvez Street
Freckled clouds moving out of dark clouds

Migrating from dark clouds—
freckled clouds like swarm
of white bees in blue sky.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 3:53 pm
Palo Alto, El Camino & Galvez Street
Waiting for Shuttle Bus B-line Clockwise.
Dark storm clouds over Stanford Stadium

Dark cloud shaped into
a cyclone cloud but missed
photo when my bus came.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 4:05 pm
Stanford University, Small bird hopped
by me as I'm walking to Art Library.
"Please wait so I could take your photo."

"Chirp, chirp, tweet, tweet"—
small bird is comforting me
now Mother Bird is gone.

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 12:21 pm
Home in Mountain View: Surprised to see
"Mother Bird" back in eucalyptus tree
after three full days of invisibility (with
head bruised & eye missing after storm)

Three days in the cave
like Dark Moon becoming New—
Mother Bird is back!
Thursday, October 15, 2009, 12:24 pm
Mountain View: After celebrating
Mother Bird's return to life, noticed
"Dragon Cloud" in the western sky
Chinese dragon mythology

Dragon brings the rain
but also guards a treasure—
The Pearl of Great Price.

Thursday, October 15, 2009, 2:48 pm
Home in Mountain View: Leaving apartment
& spotted "Nude Light descending staircase"
that Marcel Duchamp would love to see.
"Nude Descending a Staircase" (1912)

Light descending the staircase—
Follow sunshine's steps
to the Holy Grail!

— Peter Y. Chou, Stanford Art Library, October 14-15, 2009

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© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (10-15-2009)