Clouded Post

Because of all the mountains, the river and the immense sudden plain which is the San Luis Valley, the sky is always amazing. EVERYTHING can be happening at one time on any given day. I’ve witnessed “snow bows” from thunder snow over the San Juans while, behind me, the sun shone happily as if rough weather were relegated to some distant place, not this one. The wind can be blowing like a MF where I’m standing and I can look some twenty miles down the valley and see the calm fluff of drifting light cumulous clouds. One day, as rainbows dropped gently from hanging virga, I saw the face of Kris Kristofferson in a gathering mammatus cloud formation.

At that moment I understood how God became a bearded face in the sky, but seriously? Kris Kristofferson?

Lenticular clouds are a mountain phenomenon. That fancy word just means lens shaped. I had never heard of them until I went to the little town Mt. Shasta, CA for surgery on my right hip. Some online advertising for that mountain town had many pictures of lenticular clouds over that spectacular volcanic cone. Yeah, yeah, I know that lots of people go to the big city for joint surgery, but my doctor was there. From the window in my hospital, I had a view of Mt. Shasta. And, for major surgery, it was a great experience.

Lenticular Cloud over Mt. Shasta in California

Lenticular cloud formations are common here because of all the mountains and the constantly moving air. From a distance, a chain of lenticular clouds appears smooth and languid, stretching out over the peaks.

One day I was walking out in the big empty as a lenticular cloud moved over me during its formation. The way the air moved beneath it was strange and powerful, with a distinct uplift. I didn’t realize what it was until I looked up and saw the underside of a disk-shaped cloud with fuzzy edges. I stood still and watched. It wasn’t going to pick me up or anything, and I just felt lucky to have the experience.

The featured photo shows a string of lenticular clouds over the Sangre de Cristo mountains. A modern potato cellar in the foreground.

26 thoughts on “Clouded Post

  1. I cannot imagine what you felt standing under the lenticular clouds. Mind-blowing is the only word that I can think of.

  2. Those circular clouds are showing up all over the place these days. I’m glad you described how it happens, although I’ll never remember the name of them, they are very interesting. I love looking at cloud formations and I too often see “things” in them, but Kris is a first and a delightful one as I loved his music, well still do for that matter 🙂 Happy cloud watching Martha!

  3. I’m a cloud watcher and these are jaw-dropping. I love God and I love Kris Kristofferson.😂 I wish you could hear me giggle and ooh and awww at your post. I love your writing.

  4. Interesting music choice. I’ve never heard the group, or the song. Listening, I felt sad, the lyrics about seemingly lonely people, but realized that often, watching clouds puts one in a sad, contemplative mood.
    I’ve spent a lifetime watching lenticular clouds over Mt. Rainier, looking like flying saucers.
    Because of two distince and memorable experiences, I love thunderheads (cumulonimbus clouds). They remind me of my father.

    • Hmmm…I have the sense from the song that they stop in the midst of what they’re doing and their attention is captured by the beauty of the sky. I guess that’s not something that happens often when we’re with someone else. There is a UFO Tower (tourist trap) here in the San Luis Valley. I’m sure it’s inspired by the lenticular clouds that are often hovering over the Sangre de Cristos. I would love to see Mt. Rainer one day. My two days in Seattle coincided with two blizzards. In March… :O

  5. Had a friend who was an avid pilot. He said the ability to look at clouds from both sides was one of his biggest motivators. He’d never heard of Judy Collins.

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