Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Readjusting to Standard Time takes us a while here at Chez Elisson.

She Who Must Be Obeyed, in particular, hates the fall time change...and as I get older, I find that I also like it less and less. Maybe it’s a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder, if one must put a name to it. All I know is, I feel a powerful urge to curl up and go to sleep once the sun goes down this time of year.

But Standard Time has its benefits. Now, at the bitter end of October, sunrise takes place as I am heading out the door to morning Minyan rather than when services are over. And this morning, just as I was grabbing my jacket, I saw dawn beginning to break through the windows at the front of the house.

It was glorious. And so, I grabbed Mr. Camera.

This was the view towards the southeast. As I swung around farther east, the colors in the sky grew steadily more dramatic.

And then, looking north, this is what I saw:

Mammatus clouds!

Homer, in his epic poetry, spoke metaphorically of Rosy-Fingered Dawn, but here was a more obvious, more earthy metaphor: Rosy-Titted Dawn.

Mammatus clouds are relatively unusual; yet, dramatic as they are, they are harmless. According to the University of Illinois website,
As updrafts carry precipitation enriched air to the cloud top, upward momentum is lost and the air begins to spread out horizontally, becoming a part of the anvil cloud. Because of its high concentration of precipitation particles (ice crystals and water droplets), the saturated air is heavier than the surrounding air and sinks back towards the earth.

The temperature of the subsiding air increases as it descends. However, since heat energy is required to melt and evaporate the precipitation particles contained within the sinking air, the warming produced by the sinking motion is quickly used up in the evaporation of precipitation particles. If more energy is required for evaporation than is generated by the subsidence, the sinking air will be cooler than its surroundings and will continue to sink downward.

The subsiding air eventually appears below the cloud base as rounded pouch-like structures called mammatus clouds.
I really don’t care for the scientific explanation - all I know is, I saw a flock of Sky-Titties this morning, and they were gorgeous.

And they didn’t stick around long. By the time I had put my camera away and started backing the Elissonmobile out of the driveway, they were gone - another Evanescent Aerial Memory.

But what a nice way to start the day, this Hallowe’en of 2006!

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