I was browsing a book titled ‘The Cloudspotter’s Guide’ by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, who founded:
I became interested in the book, when I realised that Gavin is a local author, living in Somerset.
Then, as I browsed, I realised that I had completely forgotten all those Geography lessons at school, where we learned the cloud types and formations off rote, but was pleased at how quickly I was actually able to recall some of the information, with a little nudge from Gavin’s comprehensive explanations.
The book is a fascinating insight into the contemplation of clouds and set me thinking about the times we have sat peacefully in our back garden, on a still summer’s day, just gazing up at the clouds, trying to liken their formations to recognizable objects, then watching them slowly disappear into the ether.
Or on a windy, stormy day, when the dark and angry clouds scud quickly across the sky. More dramatic, but just as alluring to watch.
The poem below forms the preface of the book and sums up the sentiment around clouds so succinctly.
‘The Cloud’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley,
I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky:
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain, when with never a stain
The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise, and unbuild it again.