The photo below, shot over Turkey, provides enlightenment to anyone unfamiliar with meteorology.
This is a classic anvil head Cumulonimbus, better known as a thunderhead. If you have ever been caught in a thunder storm (on the ground, of course, because if you have been in an aircraft, you would be alive to read this fine prose), this is what the sky above your head looks like, unless of course it’s an imbedded thunderstorm, which is impossible to photograph (because it’s imbedded).
This is the type of cloud formation feared, and rightly so, by all pilots. These seething giants can toss about and tear apart even to largest and heaviest aircraft. None is immune from its power and ferociousness. There is no better example of how nature always wins in fight, because the fight is never fair and there is nothing humans can do about that lack of fairness and always losing. One can only remain at a safe distance, admire the beauty, and take photographs.
Some profess to see the future in tea leaves; I prefer to drink what they produce. Some claim a talent for predicting weather from cloud patterns; I simply look at them and enjoy unusual formations.
The sky of London on Sunday sent mixed signals to the seers. I took the above photo while standing on a side street of Sloane Street in Belgravia. I was waiting to picked up by a friend for lunch at a quintessential English club (cricket, bowls, croquette, lawn tennis, Pimms, etc.)
I lingered in a district known for inflated real estate prices and people with too much money. I stood in front a Baby Dior, whose window display showed miniature haute couture, absurdly expensive duds for infants to wear once and to impress its parent’s friends.
This is an area for people with too much money and occasional lack of sense or proportion. I witnessed three women emerge from a huge Rolls Royce stopped in a no parking zone; behind it stood a large Mercedes from which emerged other ladies. A doorman at one of the ritzy shops explained that this was some “princess”, with her entourage in the following car. The drivers stood in the middle of Sloane Street to stop traffic to let the women saunter across to some appealing store. No one honked, surely accepting such behavior from their “betters”. And, this is a street clogged with Bentleys, Ferraris, Porches, Aston Martins, and the like. Even Dubai does not have the concentration one sees in Belgravia.
No wonder that I enjoy looking up at clouds...
Avid followers of my travel reports will have discerned my tendency to watch the Air Show on the in-flight entertainment system. This has two reasons: interest and lack of any film worth watching.
On Emirates flights, the information alternates between English and Arabic languages.
On my latest flight from Dubai to Frankfurt, I had a strange thought. (Many of my thoughts seem to be strange!) When the Arabic names are on the screen, the plane appears to be flying through clouds...or flocks of snow geese...or....
Other than pausing momentarily to pose for photos, this cloud is worthless...which explains why no good sunsets occurred during my stay in Switzerland.
Or is it? The looks like the result of two airplanes passing overhead. This is more like a collaboration of humans and nature to create a piece of natural art. Whatever it is, it caught my eye and caused me to reach for my phone/camera.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.