Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sun and Clouds

I had a change of pace from the regular routine yesterday, and spent my day in the computer lab teaching people to use Excel and Publisher. The last class of the day was cancelled due to no enrollment so I spent the afternoon doing errands. It was an unexpected treat. One may question the association between errands and treats, but when errands are usually relegated to 10 minute stints at lunch time, having a whole afternoon is a luxury.

The extra bonus was that the sun was shining. I picked up my lighter jacket, and hit the streets. By the time I came out of the hairstylist and the sun had gone behind the mountains, I was questioning my jacket decision, so I scurried home.

We have had several days of sunshine here but weather in the mountains has its own distinctive appearance. Sometime during the night or early morning, the clouds fill the valley (something, I think, to do with the change in air temperature) and they just hang out there.

This is what it looks like in the morning:

As the sun rises and heats up the air, it "burns" off the clouds, and presto chango, here's the afternoon:

Luckily, the daytime temperatures are getting warmer and warmer. But when this phenomenon happens in the late fall and the air temperature is getting cooler, the clouds can hang out for days in the mountains. The likelihood increases if your valley has a large body of water, as ours indeed does.

So last evening when the total lunar eclipse was happening, we got the full show because the skies were still clear. What a delightful treat! The mountains, I have discovered in my 13+ years of residing in them, are not the best place for a wannabe astronomer.

Later, the clouds like an uninvited guest, crept their way back in. It is all a well choreographed show that has been practiced for eons. Always entertaining.

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