From The Other Side of A Cloud

Reflecting Clouds
Reflecting Clouds

Did you know there are people in the world who collect clouds? They’re called Cloudspotters, members of  The Cloud Appreciation Society.  

You’re probably wondering how one would go about the business of collecting a cloud. Unlike inflatable lawn ornaments,  garden gnomes, tea cozies or balls of tinfoil, clouds are rather ephemeral things floating lonely just above our heads.

Gavin Pretor -Pinney, the group’s founder, developed The Cloud Collector’s Handbook to make it easy for us to spot and record  the different types of clouds we see when we lift up our eyes to the sky. In his handbook, he explains the 10 main cloud types along with notable species, varieties and features. Points are allotted to spotters for adding clouds into their scorecard with extra points for such things as photographing them or collecting all species of one type of cloud or predicting rain when a Pannus hovers above. The various cloud formations are given points from 10 for the easiest to spot, the Stratocumulus, to 50 points for the little wisp of a cloud called the horseshoe vortex which forms in a region of rotating air.  And chalk up 55 points for the breaking waves formation of the rare Kevin-Helmholtz cloud.

Within this TED Talk, Pretor-Penney explains the different cloud types with beautiful photos from members of the Society. And in the end, he makes the argument for taking time from our busy lives to use our imaginations or to just do nothing.

I’m stepping outside now to lie on the grass and gaze up at the sky. It might take my mind off the state of the world as a whole. Maybe I’ll even fall asleep and perchance, dream? I was up quite late last night and could use a nap. Have a lovely week.    Clare

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126 thoughts on “From The Other Side of A Cloud

  1. I just love this! A Cloud Spotting book!! Actually there is such a serenity lying back, watching them wisp across the sky…but don’t think I’d be good at noting them down…they just make me dreamy and drifty. I’ll join you in a nap! Lovely post, Clare.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It definitely appealed to my inner child and my imagination. And I wanted to write a post on a lighter topic. The news and particularly the politics in the US can be very wearing. Hopefully Dubai is a much healthier environment.I’ll be by to visit you today. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You´re very welcome! I believe he developed this interest later in life. You can see it in his landscapes, the skies get bigger and bigger with time and then he concentrated only on the clouds 🙂 He was quite scientific with it too – once you start looking at them, clouds definitely draw you in 😉

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  2. I felt like clapping and jumping in the air after reading thing. I must say this post was as light and delightful like a floating cloud.

    I often fall asleep gazing the sky, spotting the clouds. I love looking at them when I’d wake up on summer mornings on the terrace.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post brought back memories of my best friend and me lying on our backs on the lawns of parks and staring at the clouds, sometimes talking, sometimes deciding what the shape of various clouds looked like to each of us. Occasionally, we’d bring and let go of helium-filled balloons on relatively windless days and watch them for as long as we could before they finally drifted out of sight. Thank you inspiring those memories, Clare!
    Russ

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  4. Reblogged this on A Grateful Man and commented:
    Clare’s post brought back memories of my best friend and me lying on our backs on the lawns of parks and staring at clouds, sometimes talking, sometimes deciding what the shape of various clouds looked like to each of us. Occasionally, we’d bring and release helium-filled balloons on relatively windless days and watch them for as long as we could before they finally drifted out of sight. A wistful smile has found its way to my face at such thoughts.
    With love,
    Russ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Russ, there was no doubt in my mind that you were always an imaginative young cloud watcher. Thank you for the reblog and I’m smiling right along with you with my own young memories of cloud gazing. Love, Clare

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  5. Hi Ethel, Cloud gazing is such a better use of your time than navel gazing!!
    I really wasn’t aware of that many different kinds of clouds!!
    How fun to have a notebook, and collect points!!
    How many did you collect today, while you were out there in the grass??
    Love, Lucy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re a Nepholologist, Clare! I think I may be too, but in a remarkably uninformed way. It’s so easy to take clouds for granted, yet they are quite magical natural phenomena. If one were to appear and we had never seen a cloud before, it would perhaps seem like a supernatural event, almost. As with so much in nature, we take their appearance for granted. A lovely article, for which many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I’m a proud Nepholologist at that! (Forgive my redundancy. I was just testing spell check to see in what order those letters would eventually morph. They seem to be in correct order, though.)
      Sometimes, when I look up, the clouds do appear to be quite supernatural to me. I’m really trying to take less for granted, Hariod. I’m glad you liked my simple article. I was toying with much heavier topics and it only resulted in a night of sleeplessness. Methinks I’ll stay with clouds and wildflowers for the time being. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Clare I really enjoyed this post. You took me from Wordsworth ‘wander lonely as a cloud…’ to Shakespeare ‘perchance to dream…’ to the wonderful TED video which advises ‘living life with your head in the clouds.’ But your photos almost eclipsed these, transporting me skyward. Just lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The photos are from some of the trips we’ve taken and a few shots from around here. I thought they would add a bit to the post, seeing as I just threw it together on a whim the other night. Yes, my college English class notes do float into my posts at odd times. It’s those philosophy class notes that need to be kept at bay, methinks! Thanks, Robyn

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, I slept in late this morning, so I should be my old, chipper self today. I’ve been reading your posts and the one that really stays with me is “Don’t make Mama Cry.” I guess it’s because I’m relieved that the boys did not grow up to be like him. Just the opposite, in fact, due to your positive example and good influence.
      You are having quite a nice time with those twin babies. Enjoy! Your friend, Clare

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh crap!!! Thanks for the lousy advice Clare. I’m sunburned, burning up and can’t touch anything. Shower was very painful too. But good for me I got 10 points before I passed out on the yard.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 10 points! Dennis, you’re not trying hard enough. Slather on some heavy-duty sun screen and head back out into the yard. Wear some clothes this time so you can economize on the sunscreen. Your incredibly unsympathetic but very helpful friend, Clare

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Had better luck today on the burning problem but not many clouds out on a 90 degree day. Lost 3 pounds sweating though with all the clothes that I had on and had another nice nap.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That makes me feel a lot less guilty. Oh, and I would love to lose 3 pounds – but not that way! The nap was a very good idea – actually you should repeat it every day for the next month and I’m sure you’ll feel lots better! (I should have been a doctor!) Take care…Clare

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    1. Bun – You must be a bit more discriminating – one of each type = 10. Limit yourself!
      As for the drippy problem, I’m working on a patent on cloud diapers for the smaller ones and a modified Adult Depends for the larger variety. I’ll get back to you as soon as I get word from the Patent Office. In the meantime, start mopping! Clare

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Those cloud diapers sound like an excellent idea. I think they could prove very useful, not only for domesticated clouds but also for the wild variety during major sporting occasions (e.g. the Olympics).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Whoa! You’ve got something there. Methinks we are destined for greatness, Bun. I’ll check on getting the patent. (Hopefully no one else has been reading these comments. I would hate for anyone to get the jump on our ideas. Maybe we should communicate in some kind of code?) ➰©️🔇〰️

        Liked by 1 person

  9. stunning photographs and the Blog was quite good as well… ( wink wink) 🙂
    Sometimes when you are flying the clouds are so think you feel you could step outside and walk on them, without falling through. We get a lot of clouds our way – usually full of Rain. ( Bun might well take note)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve given bun some good advice. He was getting a bit greedy with the cloud collecting, much to his wife’s dismay. Two of the photos are from an airplane. I keep thinking of my favorite song, “Both Sides Now” and almost included it in the post. But in the end, I decided to keep it short.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Fab blog! I am still in the very early stages – 4 months old. Just making efforts to link in with fellow bloggers to improve our followers and get the word out there for us both. I would appreciate you having a peek at my blog, as I have published several posts. Feel free to like, comment, follow or just take a peek. Thank you 🙂

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  11. Oh Clare! You have given me such a gift in this post. I so enjoyed your words, your pictures and the Ted talk. Have you ever seen the movie Truly Madly Deeply … there is a beautiful cloud scene in that – I’ve a hunch you would love the film because you have a beautiful soul 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Osyth, I’m really glad you loved this post and are taken by clouds as much as I am. We do have much in common including our souls, if what you say of mine is true. Thank you for the lovely compliment. I will make sure I watch Truly Madly Deeply.I’m now off to visit your blog on this Friday, July morning. Time is passing way too quickly but I hope your time here in New England is filled with sunny skies for you and the Bean to enjoy on your long walks. And Roxie sends her love to her friend.⛅️ Clare

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      1. I’m sitting at Heathrow waiting to fly back to Boston after my ever surprising and frankly gorgeous husband set a series of surprises for our Anniv – I’m pretty fortunate x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We surely are! Do we think it’s safe for them to meet …. Mathematically it’s not because 2x+ =negative …. The Bean says maths is tosh – because that is what dictates her found intake …. I’m a romantic and say to hell I just would live to sirens some time with you guys And your shining love story 🙂

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      3. We are here in RI for the duration – no long trips planned. So when the house in Maine is taken care of, maybe we could plan a quiet day for the four of us and Bean here in South County. A friend has a cabin on a pond nearby and there are some kayaks. We could pack a lunch and sit mulling over the good things in the world with glasses of wine and pastries. How does that sound to you?

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      4. Oh, you are in for a parcel of big trouble when you return to the scene of the crime. Better arrive loaded with tons of treats!
        I just returned from reading your latest post and it has given me much to ponder. I remember feeling despondent when Senator Gabrielle Giffords was shot. She, much like Jo Cox, was working for the people and fighting for those ideas that would make us a better planet. Lately, I have been grappling with things I want to say about women and the way they try to make positive change and how we need more women as leaders in our countries. But look at what we do to them when they try. It makes me want to join you in a cave and become a hermit, too. (Yikes, I think I’ve just started growing a beard.) Clare

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m about to board my flight so I’m going to put off a proper answer til tomorrow – you deserve a considered response not a dashed boing that means nothing and evaporates quicker than I type it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh how I love cloud shots, looking at the clouds and observing them!! I always see faces in the clouds, animals, people. I remember as a little kid laying on the ground and watching the clouds go by…I always notice them, how fast they may or may not be moving…thanks for the Ted Talks video!! Did not know there was a group and handbook, how cool!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow I like this group. Ted Talks are so inspiring and interesting aren’t they? Sometimes I’ll listen to them on my phone and one after another will play and I love that the subjects vary and I’m always fascinated with it. Wishing you all a beautiful weekend, the weather is really going to be wonderful!! Happy 4th!! 😊
        Deb

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I had no idea there was such a thing. Fascinating, Clare! I, like you, have always loved looking at clouds. I think you really associate lying on your back looking up at the clouds with childhood. It’s such a shame we stop doing it!

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  14. This made me smile. A friend of my husband’s sent him a gift of a certificate and a membership to The Cloud Appreciation Society a year or two ago, so I’m no stranger to that. It’s a nice site and they have some great photos there (as do you, in this post.) I’ll have to watch the video another time as it’s quite late here (I’m in the UK) and my bed calls!

    I like your blog and began following it earlier today.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great post, Clare. I’m a real cloud fanatic myself – as so many of us are, I think. What child doesn’t like to find shapes of familiar or funny things in the clouds? The cloud shapes in the video were hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Cloud watching is wonderful Clare. I didn’t know it was a hobby but I can understand why. For me, though cloud watching is multipurpose – sometimes an escape to watch the changing shapes, sometimes to check the weather – will it rain, which direction s the wind coming from – sometimes it morphs into a contemplative time sifting through acres of thoughts for presence. 🙂

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