Two sky moments

At nine this morning, a few clouds passed overhead. I was out for a walk, before it got hot, and a few raindrops fell for perhaps two minutes: a trace of rain. Then at noon, dark clouds rolled in from the west. I was at the car dealer getting a brake job. When the rain hit, we all stopped whatever we were doing and watched. The rain began just before one o’clock, the thunder and lightning were furious for five minutes, and the rain and wind lashed down. We could smell the rain. “It’s beuatiful, isn’t it?” someone said. “I like it best when there’s real loud thunder and lightning,” said someone else. “We need the rain,” said the service manager. “I was talking to a farmer who lives near me, and he said the corn is only four feet tall and it’s tassling out. He’s going to get a third less bushels than usual.” By one twenty, the heavy rain was over, and some light sprinkles persisted for another twenty minutes.

An incredible sky this evening just at sunset. The setting sun shone on the upper level cirrostratus clouds turning them pastel orange, pastel yellow, pastel red. The lower cumulus clouds, still boiling up trying to become thunderheads, glowed robin’s-egg blue inside white edges. Presumably they were reflecting the stretch of blue sky straight overhead, but they reminded me of the color of a glacier I once saw: glowing ice blue. I have never seen clouds that color before. It was a beautiful and disconcerting sight. The lower clouds sped eastward, turning leaden as they went. By the time I had reached the depot, a fifteen minute walk, all blue faded away. The sun faded in the west, until even the upper clouds had only a faint rosy edge in places, and the white dimmed to gray, and then to dusk. From the first yellow glow in the sky to dusk took only twenty minutes.