|North Atlantic Sky #1 – May 2012 – Jan Bowman|
This week I bring good news and bad news. First: The Good News. I don’t have “jet lag.” Now the Bad News: I have pneumonia that has been simmering since I got home.
Apparently, it’s not uncommon in this age of recycled cabin air for stressed passengers on long flights, but it is uncommon for me. Perhaps I am not invincible, after all.
|North Atlantic Sky #2 – May 2012 – Jan Bowman|
So what does any of this have to do with writing? I’ve been sleeping a lot, drinking lots of fluids, and thinking about clouds. I took a number of cloud photographs while I was away and in looking at them, I realized that while blue skies are lovely and suggest contentment, I think it’s actually clouds that capture our imaginations, with their variations of light and dark. Their interesting, recognizable shapes connect at some primal level, just as good fiction does. Dramatic events unfold every day in the skies overhead in whatever place we find ourselves. Weather is everywhere. We only need to look up and think of the complex layered possibilities in cloud structure that also exists in fiction – as metaphors – in the ways peoples, communities, countries and relationships function.
|North Atlantic Sky # 3 – May 2012 – Jan Bowman|
So I decided to find out more about the different cloud types and their significance for weather. I went to an actual book and I would highly recommend it. Did you know there are ten major cloud types recognized the world over? I didn’t. Did you know they have amazing names like: cirrus, altostratus, stratocumulus, and altocumulus? I didn’t. Did you know that the tufted altocumulus cloudlets which look peaceful from below, indicate instability at cloud level? Did you know that a single cumulonimbus, with its distinctive anvil shape can reach higher than Mount Everest? All of this and more comes from a wonderful book, Clouds by Eric M. Wilcox with stunning photographs and a splendid forward by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. In much of the world, clouds are viewed with a sense of wonder. They provide complex mythical links to our greater universe. However, in the culture of our particular time and place, people tend to spend more time looking down, at their i-phones or the ground, instead of looking up at the sky. They’ve become disconnected from the universe.