16 November 06
I recently read The Cloudspotter’s Guide, by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, who is the founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society. The book is a humble exhortation to look up every now and then.
The cloud phenomenon of this month for the Society is anti-crepuscular rays. If crepuscular rays are described as “God’s fingers”, perhaps these are Satan’s shadows. They are much rarer, and I don’t recall ever seeing them.
John Ruskin is an honorary member of the Society, having once written —
It is a strange thing how little in general people know about the sky. It is the part of all creation in which nature has done more for the sake of pleasing man, more, for the sole and evident purpose of talking to him and teaching him, than in any other of her works, and it is just the part in which we least attend to her…The sky is for all; bright as it is, it is not “too bright, nor good, for human nature’s daily food,” it is fitted in all its functions for the perpetual comfort and exalting of the heart, for the soothing it and purifying it from its dross and dust.