The actual lines of a pig (I mean a really fat pig) are among the loveliest and most luxuriant in nature; the pig has the same great curves, swift yet heavy, which we see in rushing water or in a rolling cloud.
The Uses of Diversity (1920),
There is another type of flying pig that has yet to get much attention here. To look at a cloud floating overhead and imagine what it might resemble is one of the oldest and most enjoyable ways to see with your imagination.
Just as our most distant ancestors watched the progression of the stars and planets across the night sky, so too, they surely contemplated cloud shapes in the daylight hours. And any culture familiar with the beast undoubtedly saw cloud pigs there in the sky.
The wild boar above, if it had floated above a community in the Middle Ages, would have been a fierce reminder to all of the dangers that lurk in the forest, and a thrilling trophy as well of the excitement of the hunt.
This immense hog could be the “mortgage lifter” of 18th century fame. Kept in a sty near home, fed on scraps, and eventually butchered. The meat and any earlier progeny were sold off for cash to pay on the mortgage with a bit kept by the owner to buy the next pig.
We think that they are Nature’s poetry, and the most egalitarian of her displays, since everyone can have a fantastic view of them… We believe that clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul.
Manifesto of The Cloud Appreciation Society
The ritual of the Boars Head celebration at Christmas might be blessed with a boars head cloud in the winter sky above a 19th century English town. There, the very real head of the same slaughtered beast, adorned with green garlands, is a reminder of old November hog killing traditions. The boar’s head recalls as well pagan times when the swine was a favorite sacrificial animal.
And gazing at clouds today, our memories have a vast storehouse of past and contemporary imagery as we seek out pigs among the clouds.
And right up there above is some pig… Is it Wilber that humble pig? Or perhaps this pig is eating a pancake. Is it Toot, Puddle, Hogzilla, Porky, Miss Piggy, Piglet, Snowball or even…
Roger Waters’ pig, usually seen as above, floating in an atomized glycol fog of rock and roll clouds.
Even just thinking about the words ‘cloud’ and ‘pig’ might conjure up images in our minds, like Pig-Pen’s perpetual cloud of dust…
or my recollection of being caught by an illusion of perception that made me think I was seeing a pig floating above the clouds outside an airplane window.
And the man-made clouds of industry are also fertile vapors for cloudspotting pigs, though such clouds may have aberrations like six legs.
So I’m headed out into this warm July afternoon to indulge in a life-affirming pastime and hoping to find out for certain… If a swineherder goes cloudspotting, what might he see?
O ! it is pleasant, with a heart at ease…
To make the shifting clouds be what you please.
Fancy in Nubibus,
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.