This is my pencil cup from Stone Ridge, a Sacred Heart all-girls school I attended from 5th to 7th grade and then again from 9th to 10th grade. The school motto, hic et nunc, means "here and now." I have had this pencil cup for thirty-five years but have yet examine why a Catholic school would stress here and now, instead of there and then. There and then seems to me a more apt motto if you are thinking about there (heaven) and then (the eternity after the now). Not until I began studying clouds--so ephemeral, so transient, so very not here or now--did I start thinking about the motto on my pencil cup or wondering about the three symbols in the shield. I think I can figure out the candle and the hearts, but the hooka in the upper right section is a bit troubling.
I think of myself as a here and now kind of person, which, in terms of spirituality, means I don't hold much stock in heaven of the afterlife. These ideas keep me from focussing on and rejoicing in the heaven at hand, the life that is now. Heaven may be an incentive, but I think it serves as a disincentive for efforts here on Earth. We can behave badly here, be forgiven, and enjoy a better place afterward. A place in the clouds.
Clouds are the antithesis of hic et nunc. They are here, there, and everywhere...now and then. And sometimes they are not. A single cell of a cumulus cloud--is said to last five minutes. That's not much nunc. And, after a year of looking at and studying clouds, I am not sure I could say where exactly they are. In terms of hic, they are elusive. When you spend much time in the company of clouds, you start feeling more grounded, rooted, solid, even slothful. You have to stand still or sit still in order to fully appreciate how dynamic clouds are. You have to be very hic et nunc. Eventually--and I am not quite there yet--you get a glimpse of the stillness in the roiling, sweeping, restlessness of clouds.