by Ingrid Spetz
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down and still somehow it’s clouds’ illusions I recall…
— Joni Mitchell
A few months back, my colleague Tony Nelson told me he’d just been gifted a membership to the international Cloud Appreciation Society and asked if we might be interested in hosting a presentation by its founder. I wasn’t quite sure what to think. What is cloud appreciation and how would that tie in to our land conservation work?
So I reached out to Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the society’s founder, to learn more.
It turns out he lives in England, but as one might expect of the founder of an international society with members in over 100 countries, he does a fair amount of world traveling. Gavin has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, has given a TED talk and did a Google Zeitgeist talk at an event that also featured Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. He has published a number of books, including The Cloudspotter’s Guide, an international top-10 bestseller. He happened to be coming to Nevada this spring and was working on booking some engagements in the Bay Area on his way.
As I began to research the Cloud Appreciation Society, I started to understand more of what they were about. People from around the world take photos of clouds and upload them to the society website. Members receive a “Cloud-a-Day” image via email every day of the year. Photographs are selected for “Cloud of the Month.” Needless to say, these folks are really into clouds.
This got me thinking about clouds a lot and I found myself noticing them in the sky even more, and beginning to take more pictures of clouds. I even started exchanging cloud photos with a friend who lives further north to see what our clouds were like versus what he was seeing in the skies as the storms rolled in.
I’m very much looking forward to Gavin’s presentation at the Finley Center Auditorium on April 11. We’ll get to see some of his stellar collection of photos from around the world, learn about what clouds tell us about the weather and experience for ourselves the healing powers of looking up at the sky. I hope to see you there! Register online.
All photos in this article were taken by Ingrid in west Sonoma County.
The Cloud Appreciation Presentation with Gavin Pretor-Pinney begins at 7pm on April 11 at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. Copperfield’s Books will be on hand with copies of Gavin’s book for sale and Gavin will do a book signing after the talk.
Ingrid Spetz is Sonoma Land Trust's outings manager.
Sonoma Land Trust is a local nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, CA, that conserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open lands in Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This blog focuses on SLT's stewardship team, whose members do hands-on work to directly protect, restore, and safeguard the land for generations to come.