National Poetry Month: Cloud-FollowersApril 3, 2021 By Linda Varsell Smith We head north on our Saturday ride. Four hours under an ever-changing sky. Billowy, white cloud sculptures mix with banks of gray clouds bearing rain. We drive up the valley with wide vistas, of flat farm land, orchards draping moss-covered trees with loped off limbs. We are not able to detect what fruit will bloom. Two bonfires burn branch debris. Roadside and forest areas have fallen trees from an ice storm. Limbs litter the ground. Fields are greening. Alpaca and cattle graze. Tree farms, wineries, vineyards, ranches add to rural diversity. Small towns with Dollar Generals and pot shops. Many closed stores and restaurants. Hubbard hosts a Hop Festival. Canby is a garden spot. Rain spritzes on and off, most heavily on last leg home. In our car cocoon we can discuss our concerns. We do not use GPS, but his cell phone for directions. No sound. I was on alert for turns. We use drive-thru. I drape my mother’s red cape over me. When sunny the heat beats through the windshield. We keep on our sunglasses and the world looks lush. Clouds fascinate both of us. The panorama stretches for miles. We try to define images in the mountainous clouds. Both of us enjoy their natural beauty. The world floats and expands when you follow clouds. Earthly issues abate for four hours. We drift with the clouds and our spirits lift in light-shifting sky. Dark birds fly below.