Cloudy with a Chance of Discovery


The unsettled weather of October comes with interesting skies, from the dark, roiling cloud masses of tropical storms to the striking high altitude cirrus clouds of a crisp, sunny day. Cloud watching is addictive, and you don’t have to be a photographer to appreciate the variety and beauty of cloudy skies. A few months ago, I discovered a wonderful TED talk by British author Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. He’s witty and informative and convinced that paying attention to clouds is a great way to relax and be present in the world. The manifesto of the society pledges to fight “blue-sky thinking” since life would be quite dull “if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.” I love clouds for their ever-changing forms that filter light in interesting ways. Clouds represent a very full category in my photo filing system, so I can attest to many hours spent with my chin in the air and my eye on the sky. I was rewarded today when I looked up and discovered these Mare’s Tails, high cirrus clouds we don’t often see in our vicinity. Made up of ice crystals scattered by the jet stream, the clouds looked like brush strokes being painted by a mysterious hand across the blue canvas of the sky. Certainly not dull!