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A Study in One Act

by Alan Harris

I HAVE OPENED THE CURTAIN of my east window here above my desk, and I sit now in a holy theater before a sky-blue stage. A large cloud above the neighbor's trees resembles Jimmy Durante's nose for a while, then becomes amorphous as it slips on north. Other clouds follow, big and little and tiny on their march toward whereness. Wisps of them lead or droop because there must always be leading and drooping.

The trees seem to laugh at the clouds while yet reaching for them with swaying branches. Trees must think that they are real, rooted, somebody, and that perhaps the clouds are only tickled water which sometimes blocks their sun. But trees are clouds, too, of green leaves--clouds that only move a little. Trees grow and change and dissipate like their airborne cousins.

"And what am I but a cloud of thoughts and feelings and aspirations?"
And what am I but a cloud of thoughts and feelings and aspirations? Don't I put out tentative mists here and there? Don't I occasionally appear to other people as a ridiculous shape of thoughts without my intending to? Don't I drift toward the north when I feel the breezes of love and the warmth of compassion?

If clouds are beings, and beings are clouds, are we not all well advised to drift, to feel the wind tucking us in here and plucking us out there? Are we such rock-hard bodily lumps as we imagine?

Drift, let me. Sing to the sky, will I. One in many, are we. Let us breathe the breeze and find therein our roots in the spirit.

I close the curtain now, feeling broader, fresher. The act is over. Applause is sweeping through the trees.