I am utterly enchanted by clouds. It’s so hard to wrap my mind around them, no doubt because they are so ephemeral. Science can explain particular types, but I always think of them as some peculiar shape-shifting tribe of ethereal magic. They can be such a helpful reminder of how energy moves; how things shift; how not to hold on so tightly; how the powerful can dance lightly.
Although appreciating clouds can (and might I say should) be an everyday occurrence, I’m happy to know there is an official Cloud Appreciation Day organized by the Cloud Appreciation Society and celebrated today (September 16) with an international online event. They’ve organized a Memory Cloud Atlas, and anyone around the world can indicate their location on a map and upload a photo of their sky. I confess I’ve spent quite a bit of time this morning skyviewing around the world, and I encourage you to do the same. You can check it out here.
I find this quote by Mark Twain delightful:
“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? — it is the same the angels breathe.“
While not angels, the Nephelai were considered by the ancient Greeks to be the cloud nymphs who arose from the Earth-encompassing River Okeanos, bearing water to the heavens in cloudy pitchers.
I first read that on a cold winter’s day while I was having a steaming cup of tea, and I totally felt like I was given a peek into the way clouds were formed.
There is actually a Chinese green tea known as cloud tea grown at great elevations in the Himalayas amidst the clouds and mists. There are also legends about monkeys picking tea. And just to round out the connection, there’s a lovely kid’s book entitled Cloud Tea Monkeys.
Although I haven’t had cloud tea, I have no doubt it would be a fine accompaniment for meringue cloud cookies. There are tons of recipe variations so you can likely find one that delights you.
And having fortified ourselves with such airy confections, wouldn’t it be fun look for clouds in unexpected places? Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde is renowned for his photographs of clouds he created using water and a smoke machine. There’s a brief video explaining his process here.
Of course the real-in-the-sky clouds are utterly magical, and entertainment is only a glance upwards away. The Cloud Appreciation Society understands that. Should your sky be cloudless you can always go online and check out their wonderful galleries of photos.
While it’s always delightful to cloud gaze and see what wonderful shapes and images appear in the sky theatre, there are those who are skilled at cloud divination, an art often called Nephomancy.
So much beauty in the air the angels breathe, wouldn’t you agree?