Last evening [07/14/11] about 8 pm, I was sitting at my usual spot on the sofa, enjoying a TV program. As is my usual habit, I often look out the top of the window nearest me to watch birds perched in the pine or monitor the weather. I see a small slice of the world through the top of that window - sandwiched between curtain and window frame - but it is enough to keep my eye on what's happening outside.
Last evening I happened to look up and see the curve of a wispy cirrus cloud pass by, one with particularly feathery edges, looking all the while like some intricate white lace. I watched as others passed until I could stand it no more. Mom looked up at me. "You're going for your camera, aren't you?" she asked. "You're going outside."
The cloud on the left is probably the one I saw from my seat in the living room. It looks something like an old jet contrail blown to bits by high-altitude winds. It is likely that the cloud was 20,000' or more in altitude. The prevailing wind at my 5 pm reading was ENE but these clouds seem to be blowing apart to the S, even SE.
The trouble with photography is that there is no depth. Standing there in the yard in my bare feet, the sky opened into a deep aerial well and exhibited endless texture and dimension. That is not captured here.
Zooming in on one section of the cloud, some of the intricacies can be seen.
This shot is looking roughly east and the clouds can be seen to have moved south from the initial frame.
Though this picture would appear to have been posted sideways, this is shown just as it was taken. The maple beside our kitchen has overhanging branches to the left. I am looking nearly overhead with this shot.
These clouds speak of fair weather and that was exactly the forecast for last night. Cirrus seem most spectacular in the winter to me but their "mare's tail" structure is enjoyable to observe year-round.
After coming back inside, I saw the sky suddenly begin the clear and by 9 pm I saw not a single cloud. These delicate clouds had been absorbed back into the atmosphere, born and died in an hour's time.