One of the things I love most about Florida, that I miss when I’m away, and that I fall in love with all over again when I return, is the sky. More specifically, I love the clouds. Cloudscapes in Florida are dynamic and dependable. Nearly every afternoon in summer, formations build before your eyes in a blue sky, their faces to the brilliant Florida sun. The piles are clean and bright, like bleached cotton, and you can actually watch them grow, billowy cumulus clouds piling up like a massive mound of shaving cream in a crystalline sky. Variations of light on the clouds are dramatic, ranging from a blinding white on the uppermost billows to an ominous blue black on their low underbellies.
Every day, the clouds are different. Sometimes they are far away, and they move across the sky like giant jellyfish, trailing rain like dark gray tentacles. Other times you watch them grow, you feel the wind pick up as they become cumulonimbus storm clouds, sucking air into their growing system, and you wonder, is that coming our way?
And then that blue-black underbelly is right there,and it blots out the sun. The temperature drops. The menacing cloud is low, right above you. You can see details of its texture, and there is a sense of immediacy – the cloud isn’t over there, where I can watch it from afar. It is right here, like that tree and this lizard, and like me.
A bolt of lightning blinds you, and a clap of thunder cracks, and you feel the ground and your chest vibrate with the impact. Maybe you’ll get scared if you’re outside, and you’ll run for cover. If you’re inside you watch rain pelt hot asphalt and green palm fronds. The storm will crash violently, with thunder and lightning and rain so heavy you have to pull off the highway if you’re driving in it.
Ten minutes later, maybe twenty, it will all be over. The road will steam. The palm fronds will glisten. The sky will clear for sunset, leaving a few cloud remnants, maybe some high cirrus feathers, to reflect pinks and oranges of the sun’s fiery farewell as it drops below the horizon.
And then, you forget about clouds for a while. At least until the next day, when you see a couple of white puffs here and there in the morning. And at 2 o’clock you look inland, and you see a curve of white above palm trees, a great dollop of cloud that grows before your eyes, and you pause in what you’re doing to watch the show.
This is my entry for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves.
7 thoughts on “Island cloudscape”
Great pic and beautiful words …
Thank you Helena.
Reminds me of a time many years ago when Rita and I were spending an evening with your parents at Sav. Inn & Country Club. A storm front began approaching, a crescent of blue-black clouds, and the wind picked up, blowing plastic cups and paper tablecloths awry. Waitspeople scurried to batten down the hatches, Rita and your mom went inside. Your dad and I just tightened our grips on our beers, and smiled, and watched. It’s all perspective. We never smiled when it did this at sea.
I can picture all of you so clearly, especially Mom and Rita running for cover while you and Dad smiled into the storm. He and I got caught out at Williamson once in a nasty squall. I think we had just pilfered leftover Cokes and gear that had been abandoned on the Olympics day marina. We were in a little open skiff, if I remember right, and since we had no choice, we grinned into the storm. I remember lightning striking the water, and thunder booming all around us, and the storm hurling rain on us out on the river, with no cover anywhere. We didn’t even have a bimini. I wish I could remember it better so I could write about it. We had fun, even though I was terrified and thought we might die out there.
I live in Florida, ut never watch the skies. Maybe I will start.
The sky gets me every time I come to Florida. Definitely look for the clouds, especially on summer afternoons. They are spectacular.
I grew up in Florida. Your words describe the afternoon showers perfectly. You painted a wonderful picture with your words!!
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