Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"behind every cloud is ... another cloud"

OK. I have to admit it. Nobody laugh. I have a secret passion. My kids think I'm a complete loser, but I have this thing for....clouds. Don't ask me why, but they just really speak to me. Sort of like those shells on the beach that call out to be picked up and taken home, to be displayed in a little jar on the windowsill. Except it's kind of hard to do that with clouds.

So last year the kids gave me a gift certificate to Borders, and what did I do but buy myself a book on clouds and the weather. I keep it in my car, and have been known to pull over on the side of the road to look up an interesting cloud formation. I run the risk every day of being pulled over for "cloudspotting while driving." I have seriously considered becoming a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, but I'm not much of a joiner. I might join just to get the t-shirt. Is that so wrong?

Well, I've decided maybe I've inherited this trait. The diary and guestbook that Helene brought and gave me (see post below) turns out to have belonged not to Grandma Loomis but Great-Grandma Isabel Abbot. And in it were dozens of newspaper clippings about the weather -- she obviously had a passion for such things as well:

  • Coldest Wave Since 1899 - Extend from Rockies to Atlantic and Lakes to Gulf (32 below in North Dakota)
  • First Snowfall is Only a Flurry (October 30, 1925)
  • Hottest September 8 since 1881 & Mecury Again Above 90 (1918)
  • Temperature Goes to 69 - Weather Bureau Records Show it was Hottest Oct 29th in 44 years (1918)
  • Northeaster Brought 3.77 inches of Rain (1923)
  • How to Dress to Go to Frisco -- Democrat Convention-Goers Should Trade Palm Beach Suits for Overcoats (1920)
A brief article Great-Grandma collected from 1922 states "the only thing to do about the humidity is to bear it. But while it endures be tolerant of the frailties of the human temper. Sea bathing affords only temporary relief. Cooling drinks are of no help, because the perspiration they provoke cannot be radiated. It is only possible to wait till it is over and to remember Mr. Shakespeare's injunction that time and the hour run through the humidest day."
So what's your secret passion? Not the ones that everybody knows about, but a thing that fascinates and resonates, even when no one around you gets it? I have one friend who is an enthusiastic member of Friends of the Erie Canal, even though she's never lived anywhere near it, or even visited in the area that often. Uncle Jack Loomis put together lists of funny names he found in the phone book, like Jack B. Nimble or I. P. Freely or Olive Yew. He had collected dozens of pages of them, lovingly typed out on his ancient Underwood typewriter.
Now you know my passion. Tell us yours in the comments field below. We promise not to laugh.


  1. You should drive along with Biddy and Bob on an excursion, where he asks her to stop the car, exclaiming, "Wow those are really Constable clouds." I guess the painter Constable was famous for his depiction of clouds. Being a painter, in oil and watercolor, Bob is understandably impressed.

    As for me, I like whales. Following a gift of a small wooden whale some years ago, I started collecting----wood, glass, ceramic, pewter, silver, brass...and began a shelf of books on whales, whaling, whaling ship logs. I inherited Clifford Ashley's Yankee Whaler, and also his book on New Bedford ships.
    I'm happy to report I also have whale jewelry, whale towels and pot holders, whale ashtrays, and a special favorite, a fluke on a long chain with matching earrings.

    I have seen gray whales migrating down the coast, sitting on a cliff in Carmel, Ca. I have seen minkes, humpbacks and fin whales in Cape Cod bay, in Nova Scotia and in the Bay of Fundy.

    Call me odd--or Ishmael if you like--but I love whales. Listen to Paul Winter as he sings like the humpbacks on his saxaphone.

    Who's next?

  2. i love the black and white photos taken of Saturn by the Cassini spacecraft. I would buy a book of them in a heartbeat.

  3. Birdsong. I am stopped in my tracks by certain calls. I'm not good at always knowing what bird is calling [Grandma Loo and my Mother knew them all] but I just love the calls. The first wood thrush call, usually around my birthday, enthralls me. The first time I'd hear the male cardinal, "Cheer-Cheer-Cheer", I'd go straight to the phone to call Mother so we could rejoice that spring was near. Early Robins, or those late ones still going thru now, have such a happy chirrup that I just smile. I don't even realize how much I miss that sound until I hear it again sometime in early March.

    Anyway...tho' I do like clouds almost as much, birdsong knocks me out.

  4. Oh my gosh, there are so many things to enjoy! I enjoy things that are difficult, but once mastered, give such a sense of gratitute. Running is one of those things. It is hard; I despise it, but when I finish a long hard race, the feeling I have is unbeatable.

    Travel is another - it is difficult; I don't speak the language; I have no idea where I am going or what I am doing; I am alone; I am scared, but in the end I find the most wonderful things and people.

    I also love taking photos, especially of odd people or things that I see in the different places I am. Sometimes it is just a photo of the leaves of a certain tree or a funny face a child is making, or poor kids in a third world country dancing in the street and having a great time.

    I cannot just pick one thing! I have so many passions, so many interests....

    Here is one of my fave photos:


  5. OOoOooh! I just stumbled upon your blog by total chance -and guess what: I'm a cloud lover too. So much so i collect them and have a shared blog with one of my best friends who lives abroad where we share our everyday clouds too: http://nube-kumo-nuage.tumblr.com/ maybe you'll like it! Cloudy kisses to you*