Were this the first time I’d ever looked out this window, I’d think that long sloping shape to the east was a large ridge, not far away. It has the look: big bulge gradually fading away in the distance. The color is right, too, that dull blue shifting to a softer gray at the edges. In fact, everything about it that can be known by looking from here in this particular lack of light says, “There’s Randolph Ridge.”
In point of greater fact, though, I know the actual ridge is much lower than that with no rising bulge. There is no five hundred foot tall ridge in this part of Doniphan County. Or any other part, so far as I know. There are some nice bluffs along the river and some of the creeks but nothing that would look like this.
This is the sloping wedge of a passing cloud front, densely shaded in the dim light before dawn. It has the same shape and tones, the same form, but nothing of the same substance. No matter how convincing the illusion, it is still just illusion. In brighter light, there would be no confusion.
There are many clouds in this world and in this life. We often mistake the suggestion of form for the need of reality. Because of that, we substitute excitement for satisfaction, sensation for sensibility, stimulation for actualization. Desiring the richer real of our deepest longings, we substitute intercourse for affection, attention for approval and flattery for encouragement. We may spend our lives in pursuits and accumulations of various types and never know the joy of having stored up the truest treasures in a place where they cannot be taken from us.
Unless we find the wisdom of the True Light, we will come to the end believing that we will finally stand upon the hill and instead find ourselves falling through the cloud.