PUT YOUR HEAD IN THE CLOUDS

Why I’ ve joined The Wan­der So­ci­ety and The Cloud Ap­pre­ci­a­tion So­ci­ety.

Elle (Canada) - - Home & Away - By Christina Reynolds

If your goal is to waste time—in a mean­ing­ful, life-chang­ing kind of way—I have two so­ci­eties that might in­ter­est you. Both em­brace the think­ing that in this age of dis­trac­tion, there’s an art to set­ting aside time for the un­known and the un­ex­pected. The Wan­der So­ci­ety is the more mys­te­ri­ous of the two. It’s guided by the Latin phrase “Solvi­tur am­bu­lando,” which means “It is solved by walk­ing,” as well as Walt Whit­man’s nat­u­ral­ist poetry in Leaves of Grass. Its founders are anony­mous, its start date is fuzzy and all you have to do to be­come a mem­ber is de­clare your­self one. Keri Smith penned The Wan­der So­ci­ety after spot­ting clues about the se­cre­tive so­ci­ety in no­ta­tions found in a book at a used book­store, pam­phlets posted to a tree in Brook­lyn and Walt Whit­man graf­fiti quotes on the sub­way. If you’re in need of some wan­der­ing #in­spo, check out the­wan­der­so­ci­ety.tum­blr.com for pe­ri­od­i­cally posted “as­sign­ments de­signed to cre­atively dis­rupt ev­ery­day life.” The other group I joined is The Cloud Ap­pre­ci­a­tion So­ci­ety (cloudap­pre­ci­a­tionso­ci­ety.org). My favourite line from its man­i­festo is “We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky think­ing’ wher­ever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloud­less monotony day after day.” The so­ci­ety has be­come a bit more struc­tured (and by “struc­tured” I mean it sends out a “cloud a day” email to mem­bers) than it was when Brit Gavin Pre­tor-Pin­ney dreamed up the idea in 2004. He made up the name as a joke to en­tice lit­er­ary-con­fer­ence-go­ers to a lec­ture he was giv­ing on his new fas­ci­na­tion with clouds. So many peo­ple in­quired about join­ing the then non-ex­is­tent or­ga­ni­za­tion that he cre­ated one. He has since pub­lished The Cloudspot­ter’s Guide and The Cloud Col­lec­tor’s Hand­book and has also cre­ated a few quirky prod­ucts, like a 1950s-style card­board in­for­ma­tion wheel that iden­ti­fies 20 cloud for­ma­tions. But be­com­ing a cloud expert isn’t my goal—it’s about see­ing, shar­ing and imag­in­ing what Joni Mitchell po­et­i­cally de­scribed as “ice-cream cas­tles in the air.”

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