You're invited to 'Cloudman' tribute
May 24 would have been the 100th birthday of John “Cloudman” Day. Our dad always planned to celebrate this event but made it only to age 95, itself a testament to a life well-lived.
We still hear from people all over the world who have read his books or visited his Cloudman.com website. Perhaps you have a copy of “The Book of Clouds,” now out of print, or the “Peterson’s Field Guide to Atmosphere.” He was working on a new edition of the guide, to be published in September 2014, when he died on June 21, 2008.
Perhaps you were a loyal reader of the more than 1,000 News-Register “Words on the Weather” columns he wrote from 1978 to 2007, or perhaps you collected a set of U.S. postage stamps that in 2004 included his iconic Yamhill County red barn photograph.
From his Linfield College meteorology class to a Methodist Church discussion group, our dad was always the consummate teacher, hoping to inspire another generation to take time to really see the beauty of God’s world that surrounds us.
One of his final newspaper columns was “A Dream for McMinnville.” He envisioned a special kind of town where people of all ages regularly looked up and appreciated what was going on in the sky. And as they went about their business, they would talk about and share what they’d observed.
He would be pleased to know his message to “look up and see the beauty of the skies” hasn’t been forgotten. Because there are always new converts to be made, we’re inviting the McMinnville community to share in our remembrance of him and his legacy.
We encourage everyone to take a moment to just look up and see. Then do it again tomorrow ... and the next day.
On Saturday, May 25, we invite all cloud watchers to a reception honoring the Cloudman at Hillside Retirement Center. There will be music, refreshments and time to share our gratitude for the man who enriched our lives because he loved clouds and wanted to share the “Greatest Free Show on Earth.”
— The Day Children: Patti Webb, Carolyn McCloskey and Janice Richardson, all of McMinnville; Christy Leonhardt of Tigard; and John W. Day of Sonora, Calif.
What: Music, refreshments
Where: Hillside Retirement Center, Traditions Lounge at first roundabout off Southwest Second St., McMinnville
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 25
Ten Reasons to Look Up! By John Day
Digested from “Ten reasons to join Cloud Watchers Unlimited,” News-Register, Feb. 2, 2002
Someone could ask, “What is it about clouds that is so special? They have been around all the time.”
Clouds are a sort of visual “muzak,” seen but not seen, as canned music is heard but not heard. To many, clouds are just a part of the visual background.
Here are 10 reasons I find compelling to engage in cloud watching:
1. Clouds and cloudscapes are the greatest “free show on earth.” It costs not a penny to feast your eyes on the view.
2. Clouds are never exactly the same. By analogy, consider a piece of music with a basic theme and many variations. There are four basic cloud types – cumulus, stratus, cirrus and nimbus – and Nature composes endless symphonies of the skies that are mixtures and elaborations of the basic types.
3. Many skies are simply beautiful to behold. Sheer beauty! The combination of form, position, gradations of light and shadow, and even color in the late evening and early morning hours is pleasing to the eye and stirs an inner sense that causes one to breathe, “Ahh, the Great Artist at work!”
4. Clouds are a Billboard of Coming Attractions. Particular clouds arise from causative factors that produce tomorrow’s weather. The honed skill to read that billboard notice resides with only a few people today, providing an immense feeling of satisfaction when a personal forecast is verified.
5. Regular cloud watching gives one a sense of connectedness with nature. We need to remember that our roots are in nature, and we overlook this fact to our own disservice.
6. Cloud observing nourishes a global consciousness. Weather satellites provide utterly amazing information about current weather events. The ability to see a global display of cloudiness, by visual or infrared light, is indeed a triumph of technology that should be appreciated.
7. Planet Earth is unique. Its 93-million-mile distance from the sun allows water to exist in all three of its states (gaseous, liquid and solid). Astronauts who made trips to the moon were profoundly impressed by the beauty of the white/blue/green orb hanging against the blackness of space.
8. Water is a miracle substance. It has remarkable heat properties. In the absence of water, Earth would be cloudless. There would be no precipitation, and the planet would be a lifeless desert like Mars.
9. Cloud watching is an antidote to boredom. The habit of systematic cloud observing is not an expensive prescription drug. Use as a reference a cloud chart with pictures of basic and unusual clouds, names and descriptions. Reduce boredom by becoming acquainted with the day sky. Write down your observations in a journal or on the tablet of your memory.
10. Clouds are the magic show of the sky. As a cloud physicist, I know the sequence of physical causes that brings a cloud into existence and causes it to dissipate. But all of us can look upon the process with awe and wonder. I do.