Sometimes heaven’s light
Seems so far away
And my life
Like a stormy illusion
In moments of darkness
Pride and ego
There is more to life
I am not a flame
But a drifting shadow
The bright dream
Of the universe.
Just when I thought about putting away my winter coats, the weather turned again. On Tuesday, I was driving home from work when a large mass of storm clouds loomed into view. Within a few minutes, thunder boomed and multiple lightning strikes flashed before me. I was actually enjoying the light show until the heavy downpour of rain came. Even though I had the windshield wipers going full blast, I could barely see the painted lines on the road. I never drove in rain as heavy as this before, and I slowed down along with other drivers on the road in the hope of avoiding an accident. Water swelled and flooded the streets. Suddenly, the storm disappeared as fast as it came, and the sun shone again . . .
Besides giving me a free car wash, Tuesday’s rain inspired me to do a post about storm clouds. This week’s post features storm clouds called shelf clouds. Here is a brief description of them from the Mother Nature Network website:
Shelf clouds are a type of arcus cloud, formed by colliding updrafts and downdrafts. As a storm vacuums up warm air from below, it also pumps out cooler air at the top, which can spill forward, slip below the warm updrafts and condense into a horizontal “shelf” . . . .
Some shelf clouds have a blue glow to them. The Mother Nature Network website describes this as a “’glow discharge,’” which “can occur when a thunderstorm is close to the ground, creating a large ‘surface charge density’ for a long, slow-burning lightning strike — similar to how an electrical charge illuminates suspended particles in a fluorescent light bulb.”
Furthermore, shelf clouds are not always as menacing as they appear to be. They “mainly serve as harbingers of more severe weather on the way — and even then, they’ve been known to exaggerate the threat. ”
Source for all quotes in this post: “9 scary images of shelf clouds” (a photo gallery with text by Russell McLendon) – Mother Nature Network
Washing The Lions
During the 18th and 19th centuries a popular prank in London involved inviting unsuspecting victims to come view the annual ceremony of washing the lions at the Tower of London. Early versions of the prank promised the curious that the lions were going to be washed in the moat. Later versions told the gullible to seek entrance to the Tower at the “White Gate” (there being no such gate). Whatever the details were, the hopeful sightseers would make the journey to the Tower in vain, because there was no annual lion-washing ceremony. . . .
This prank is best known as an April Fool’s Day joke. In fact, a report of it being perpetrated in 1698 is the earliest recorded example of an April Fool’s Day prank. The April 2, 1698 edition of Dawks’s News-Letter reported that “Yesterday being the first of April, several persons were sent to the Tower Ditch to see the Lions washed” (Notes and Queries, 1913, 357). . . .
The washing-the-lions prank falls into the broad category of “sleeveless errand” pranks—more commonly referred to today as “wild-goose chases.” A sleeveless errand involves sending a victim on a fruitless quest in search of an item, or event, that does not exist.
Source: “Washing The Lions” – Hoaxipedia
Saint Stupid’s Day Parade
The Saint Stupid’s Day Parade is an annual parade in San Francisco on April 1. It was founded by Ed Holmes in the late 1970s. If April 1 falls on a weekday, the parade starts at the foot of Market Street and follows a route through the financial district. If April 1 falls on a weekend, the parade starts at the Transamerica Pyramid, proceeds up Columbus Street and ends at Washington Square. The parade begins at noon.
Winter’s spell dispelled
Equal parts of day and night
A mesmerizing astronomical delight
As budding life grows
My sense of time
Past and present fuse
And my half-forgotten
Of vernal splendor
Returns to me again.
Spring is back in my part of the world, and I am enjoying it as much as I can. :) I hope you enjoy this week’s post featuring spring landscapes from around the world.
Before I go, I would like to leave you with some fun facts about the vernal equinox from EarthSky.org:
- At the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally. Night and day are approximately equal in length. The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). But since Earth never stops moving around the sun, these days of equal sunlight and night will change quickly.
- Is the equinox always on March 20? No. It can come on March 19, 20 or 21. But the equinox will be on March 20 for the coming four decades.
- For the remainder of the 21st century (2001-2100), the March equinox will fall on March 20 or 19. The next March 19 equinox will be in the year 2044.
- The equinox won’t happen on March 21 until the year 2102. The March equinox last took place on March 21 in 2007.