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BIRDS – and other things! Print E-mail
Friday, 06 May 2016 00:00

Part forty - four – A Reverie...

Gazing Upwards This time som ething quite different. I have a confession to make........I feel I must admit that I am (almost) an ADDICT. Not to any forbidden substance (vino not included in that statement!) and NO, I am NOT a closet Twitcher. In fact I do not know whether there is a collective name for my ‘addiction’..........I am a very keen Cloud Watcher; or maybe I could call it Daytime Sky Gazing.

Anyhow, I have always been fascinated by the constantly changing canopy above our heads and the sometimes flashy splendour, sometimes bleak, black cloud scenes that are presented daily for us to enjoy (or not!).

This addiction has never been in the scientific or meteorological sense, namely the interpretation of what sort of weather each type of cloud foretells, as I never could remember which c ategory of cloud – nimbus, cirrus or cumulus – equated to which weather pattern, although stratus, the only one I can define (flat or layered) is self - explanatory. This dilemma is most evident when more knowledgeable people refer to cumulonimbus or cirrost ratus – it is just too, too confusing.

So, my habit of looking up is not a hobby or a pastime; it is just a genuine amateur’s appreciation of the incredible and remarkable formations and colours achieved in the upper atmos phere. To me, the visual as pect of this ever - changing, colourful, artistic curtain is usually a pleasurable scene. Which, of course, in turn can be uplifting, bringing delight or serenity, even dread or perhaps gratitude for much - needed rain. It is entirely up to our imagination and individual appreciation of this ever - changing panorama.

At times we may be forgiven for thinking that clouds are static or semi - permanent features, while in reality they are more like a giant mobile full of differe nt shapes and sizes, swinging rapi dly against a bright blue sky as they scud by in a huge arc. One type of cloud that has me p eering skywards through my Ray - Bans a re the soft, white, billowy cushions that soar majestically from the far horizon before finally bubbling and bursting into rounded, ever - growing bulges with pearly ir idescent edges outlined against a clear blue background.

These clouds usually hide a brilliant sun that sometimes pierces through the cloud cover to reveal a glimpse of intense blueness in a benign sky. But the pristine wh iteness of these clouds where they meet the blue of the sky, usually belies and offsets a darker, shadowy underbelly that often fools us into thinking that rain is imminent. All too often we soon realise that this is just an illusion put there to tantalise and frustrate our hopes for .......... ’just a short shower , any rain will do, pleeeeese’!

We have all, no doubt, seen spectacular skies at sunrise or sunset, but would they be as stunning without clouds to frame and set them off so picturesquely? It is clouds that give daybreak and sundown form, shape and reflected colour accentuating the muted, limpid pastel tintings of the wispy vapours high in the morning or evening sky. It is this semi - neutral haze that is a ready backdrop to the luminous colours mirrored f rom the skyline as they shimmer and dance while the sun hovers on the horizon.

I apologise if this narrative reads as though I have swallowed Roget’s Thesaurus (I believe ‘waxing lyrical’ is the appropriate cliché), but if mere words can convince you to j oin me in appreciative sky - gazing, I think we could start an official club (just joking!).Just remember to stand still while performing these neck exercises – do not drive or walk’n’watch at the same time as it could be slightly hazardous.

Anyhow I will l eave it for now and continue in a future Newsletter as I still have additional observations and comments to divulge about my ‘addiction’, ( if you are still interested ?) .