Appreciating the Cloud Appreciation Society

Robert Pimm
Robert Pimm

What is the Cloud Appreciation Society?  Should you join?  

I recently visited one of my favourite places on earth, Lundy Island off the north coast of Devon, for the 22nd time.

Lundy Island has superb cloudscapes

Between the arrival of the island ship, the MS Oldenburg, and its departure that evening, I was puzzled to see dozens of people wandering around wearing badges around their necks.  They seemed to be enjoying the island immensely, so I put them down to be wise, thoughtful and perceptive.  But who were they?

Kgalagadi dawn on road to New Xade, Botswana – Photo S D Turner

Only after they had left did I discover that the visitors were members of the Cloud Appreciation Society, whose slogan is “Uniting cloud lovers around the world”.

Storm clouds brewing in Venice earlier this month

You can read more about the Cloud Appreciation Society at the link, which includes a series of rather good videos about their “Sky Gathering” on Lundy island.  But their existence made me think:

(i) why clouds?  Why not sunrises or mountains, or other spectacular natural phenomena?  Answer: because clouds are, perhaps, taken for granted more than many other aspects of nature’s beauty;

(ii) what kind of person joins a cloud appreciation society?  Answer: interesting and interested people.  The kind of person who will travel half-way around the world to discover a remote island in the Atlantic;

(iii) what lessons can we learn from this?  Answer: keep your eyes open.  Appreciate things you are taking for granted, including nature – as set out in my blog How to be happy: 11 simple tools (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site).

Russian church, Vienna

Taking note of nature is a fine way to help get things in perspective, and to avoid the trap of getting gloomy about the state of the world – see eg my blog Things are getting worse, right?  Wrong.  Here’s why.

Clouds in Ghanzi, Botswana – Photo S D Turner

If you adopt this approach, and anyone accuses you of having your head in the clouds, you can reply: ‘Sure.  Why not?’

The author hard at work on a new blog in Salzkammergut, Austria

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One of my favourite cloud pictures: Kgalagadi (Kalahari) sky, Botswana – Photo S D Turner

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