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