They opened a rear window too. They could see the landlord's yard, including his chickens. Mineko swept out as before, and Sanshirō crawled after on his hands and knees wiping. Holding her broom in both hands, Mineko watched Sanshirō work. "My!" she exclaimed.
Finally, she set her broom aside on the tatami mats and went over to the rear window. She stood and gazed out. Sanshirō finished wiping. He plopped his wet rag into the bucket and joined Mineko.
"What are you looking at?"
"Take a guess."
"That big tree?"
"What is it then? I give up."
"I've been watching those white clouds."
Sanshirō saw the white clouds crossing the wide sky. The fabric of the sky was pure blue and endlessly deep, and a succession of solid white clouds, like shiny wads of cotton, was blowing by in front of it. The edges of the clouds, buffeted by a furious wind, thinned to reveal the blue behind them. Other clouds, ruffled by the same wind, clumped together and then split apart finely, forming a collection of soft white needles. These were the clouds to which Mineko pointed as she spoke.
"They look like an ostrich boa, don't you think?"
Sanshirō was not familiar with the word 'boa.' He confessed that he didn't know what she meant.
Mineko said "My!" again, but she patiently explained to him what a boa was.
"Ah, I do know what those are," he replied. Then he told her how those white clouds were really snow crystals. And given how they appeared to move from down here, their actual speed up there must be faster than even typhoon winds. He told her everything he had learned from Nonomiya.
"Is that a fact?" Mineko turned to look at him. Then she said with a firm tone, "We shouldn't think of clouds as snow crystals."
"We just shouldn't. Clouds are clouds. Otherwise, what's the point of gazing at them?"
"You really think so?"
"I do. Would you trade those clouds for snow?"
"You seem to prefer the heights to the ground."
Mineko continued gazing skyward from within the bamboo lattice. The white clouds floated on, one after another.