Summertime clouds are playgrounds for vivid imaginations

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, August 1, 2013

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I love clouds – or at least, most of them.

When I was a kid, I’d lie on the grass on my back and pick out shapes of animals in the clouds. I’d see galloping horses, whales, and even Mickey Mouse.

Well, I’m 73 now, and I’m still fascinated with the shapes of those fluffy friends overhead. Except now, camera in hand, I’m more likely also to see abstract shapes evocative of emotions like joy, fear and awe.

And you know what? I’m not alone. I’ve asked several local old-timers if they ever see animal-like things in the clouds, and to a person, they’ve said yes, they do, too! They loved to have the clouds play with their imagination as kids, and they guessed they always would.

Over the past month, my wife Mary Anna and I have been treated to a breathtaking array of these fleecy, wispy wonders.

Take our recent hike at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, for example (see last week’s column). Its photogenic river-valley grasslands nestled beneath an azure canopy decorated with billowing cumulus to the northwest and a filigree of cirrus to the north.

Then there was the trip up the QE2 to Red Deer. As we approached the Olds turnoff, there to the northeast, beyond that iconic farm with its towering silos, the clouds took on a foreboding quality that would send shivers through hail-wary folks.

But it was while driving west toward Fort Macleod that the clouds really left us in awe. Through an opening in the brooding lower layer, a glorious cumulonimbus formation confirmed weather warnings about severe storm cells along the foothills.

Such power, such splendour!  I was reminded of words from Psalm 104:3, where it says about the Creator of earth and sky: “He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.”

Now, that’s heavenly imagery!


© 2013 Warren Harbeck

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