An anvil crawls across the sky, of soft shape but steel gray, and I wonder when to expect the inbound tempest fray? When comes the lightening and thunder, the shaking window sills, the neck hairs standing upon end -- herald of lightening chills? Will it pass by rumbling distant or strike the local spire? Will it rain so hard that it puts out its own blazing fires?
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Out: April 8, 2021
A couple of weeks ago, I was reading an article discussing the numerous types of human intelligence. While I firmly believe that the traditional notion of intelligence is sorely inadequate, the social scientist in me is always skeptical when social scientists try to pack up human experience neatly into boxes [because, often times, human experience is anything but neat — thus resulting in categories that aren’t mutually exclusive, are overly partitioned, or are insufficiently partitioned.] So, I don’t know whether I believe that the current scheme, which suggests there are eight types of intelligence, is a good one or not. [Getting to the point here, I promise.] For instance, I’m not sure whether “naturalist intelligence” [one of the eight categories] is really a different kind of intelligence, or just a different field of application. What I do know, is that – either way – it is worth trying to improve one’s understanding of nature, and – also — this book will help you build these faculties.
Tristan Gooley is the Sherlock Holmes of the natural world, taking note of often subtle cues to better understand the overall picture of what’s going on in nature. This particular book examines what we can determine about weather using the variety of clues offered by the natural world – ranging from obvious weather signs like clouds to more obscure indicators such as animal behavior.
The book consists of twenty-two chapters. Many of the chapters are focused on weather phenomena like clouds, winds, fog, precipitation, dew, etc. Some chapters are about natural elements that provide indicators about what might be expected, e.g. the shape of mountains as they influence wind patters, the differential heating effects of different surfaces of the planet. And some chapters discuss specific ecosystems and their recurrent weather, e.g. forests or cities.
The book contains many graphics, mostly drawings and diagrams used to visually depict ideas that are not readily grasped through text descriptions. The book also contains notes, a bibliography, and suggested further readings.
I’d highly recommend this book for anyone who spends time outdoors or who wants to learn more about doing so. Gooley uses stories, analogies, and interesting facts skillfully throughout the book, building a work that will teach one a great deal in a fun and interesting way.
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My mind experiences unforecastable weather.
Adrift in horse latitudes
Tortured by a polar vortex
Low pressure systems
High pressure systems
Storm fronts & storm surges
Partly sunny / partly cloudy
Partly cloudy / partly sunny
[Depending upon whether I’m in a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of mood.]
Wind shear / wind chill / wind chimes
Droughts, often followed by flash flooding
Breezes, blizzards, and breezy blizzards
Due points and do points [if not a dew point]
Topical depression — though no tropical depressions
Sun Dogs & rainbows
*At 1,200 tornadoes per year, the United States is the undisputed champion of this weather phenomena. The #2 country — the adjacent nation of Canada — has more than an order of magnitude fewer tornadoes. (And most other countries with significant numbers of tornadoes are in the tens.)
The earth tells by its tone that it’s waterlogged. Saturated soil turns away droplets like an overbooked hotel during festival days — which is to say — not as quickly as new arrivals can pack themselves into the metaphorical lobby.
Water piles up, seeking to soak into the sheltering fundament, but held back by the mass of those rain-blobs that fell first.
Meanwhile, in a hotel [real, not metaphorical] a crowd piles in to test the veracity of the “No Vacancy” neon burning as brightly as the nasty night will allow. One man, head raised skyward, is screaming taunts at the foul weather like a motor lodge King Lear. The others would roll eyes and mock the man’s lunacy, but they are busy silently screaming into their souls.
Have you ever seen an idyllic, pristine setting, and thought, Under different circumstances this would be the perfect location for a horror film?
That was my feeling as I walked out of the woods and saw this solitary, white church and its graveyard on a hill in central nowhere (No offense, Tennessee.) Picture what this place would be like under a low, roiling, gray clouds. It’s spitting cold rain, the graveyard is leaf-strewn. From which grave will a clawing hand protrude? You don’t know. You don’t know.