As the song speaks about clouds illusions, and of course I can’t say much more than that to keep copyright from kicking up its ugly head, it makes me think about how we look at things.

When we look at clouds from the ground, we see shapes and sizes, mostly flat. We see grindstones. We see hamburger buns, and tall castles in the air. We see every manner of strange being. I spent several minutes last week watching a dragon flying by on its back. It was quite a cute little dragon. I suppose it was just an illusion, though.

When we fly high enough in the air to be looking down at the clouds, we often see quite a different aspect of them. And when we actually fly our huge airliner into a cloud, we realize that the clouds are spectacularly enormous – our plane that keeps us safely sealed inside an aluminum tube is miniscule in comparison to a cloud.

Yes, yes, I know you can’t wait to hear what I’m really writing about since by now if you’ve been paying attention you know it’s not what I start writing about that I’m actually getting at.

So. People. Joni talks about love being different from ‘both sides’ too. And she’s no doubt talking about people, since we mostly love people. Or at least we love people enough to be troubled by both sides of them.

I think that everyone has the public and the private aspect of themselves, some that they present to strangers and some they present to friends. It’s rather sad, isn’t it, that the more a friend you are the less pleasant our persona is to spend time with?

I don’t really mean that from a negative way. But we have to know someone pretty well before we’ll interact with them in a way that exposes OUR selves to them.

I’m sure you know what I mean. For instance, I’d never answer the phone with a “What do YOU want” without knowing it was a good enough friend to think it was funny. We grade our external personality with the degree of respect we have for other people.

Obviously there are exceptions, you usually don’t engage in silly banter with your boss. But maybe that’s just the exception that proves the rule. No matter how well you might know your boss, in general you still present only the most public of public personas to the boss. I mean, after all, you want them to maintain their illusion of you being a good productive employee, and the best way to do that is to continue to present your best self.

On the other hand, people you love and care for deeply – you have very little interest in putting out the effort to be ‘nice’ to them. You interact with them in such an honest way that it would sound downright insulting to someone who didn’t know you. Someone who was used to you presenting the mask of social perfection.

So, at least from this standpoint, the less respect that someone treats you with, the more likely it is that they hold you in the highest esteem. Most of us would never say something hurtful to someone that might take it as serious. If you’re willing to tell jokes at their expense, it’s probably the highest compliment you could give anyone.

It says, I trust you. I’ll expose my heart to you. 

And there’s always the still small voice inside that says, “Please don’t hurt me.”