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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Of Explorers and Clouds

I've mentioned the Prairie Ecologist blog before. Chris's most recent post dedicated to his friend and inspiration hit me right in the emotional xiphoid process. I noticed immediately how Chris described his friend Ernie as an explorer of landscapes and philosophy who was "incessantly curious, thoughtful and kind". That description checks two big boxes on the NatGeo Learning Framework which describes the mindset of an explorer.

In case you are wondering, those boxes would be the curious and responsible boxes.

I also like the post because, well, clouds and sky. I've been nattering a lot about robins lately but clouds via GLOBE observer app is one of my two other citizen science activities, iNaturalist being the third.

During the winter we have lots of cirrus, stratus, and nimbostratus clouds around here. I am not-so-patiently awaiting the first cumulus cloud of spring which is a surer sign of warm weather than even robins. Cumulus clouds, the Rorschach fluffy, sheepy, pillowy looking clouds, are found in fair weather on warm days. One of my favorite ways to teach cloud types to littles is to have them role play what they are doing when different kinds of clouds are in the sky. Their role plays for cumulus clouds always include a lot of going to the beach and lying out in the sun as if any first grader ever did that for more than 2 minutes.

The clouds outside my window as I type this are stratus. If I were a first grader role playing this type of cloud, there would be napping. These clouds were recently nimbostratus and may yet be again as they brought us alternating rain and flurries all day today. If you look in the dictionary for March you should find this picture of a gray, raw day. In this picture you can see the Ponderosa pine and skein of Canada geese (you may have to enlarge) and the top of a Russian Olive not planted by us but which we haven't gotten around to cutting down.