Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Red... .

          "Red in the morning 
           is a sailor's warning ;
           while, red at night
           is a sailor's delight."

This little ditty was repeated over and over to me by my Gran'Pa Downie, a seafaring grandfather from the 1890's into the early 1900's who plied the waves from Glasgow, Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa before immigrating his family to Tarrytown, New York,USA. prior to 1920.

This cute little poem was once used by weathermen all over the world to predict a change in weather for the rest of that particular day or night, but little more. 

It was a spectacular, beautiful red morning this morning even better than yesterday's. Just around 6:30AM, shortly before the sun emerged on the eastern horizon, angular sun rays refracted off a sky of herringbone clouds. I'm told the intensity of color comes from the amount and composition of the dust particles suspended in the clouds which sunlight rays bounce off which is called refraction. 

More vivid was a sky color not often seen. Wide patches of red clouds striped with thin glimpses of blue were predominant. Then, just a minute before sunrise, a large patch of blue sky turned teal, blue-green in a glorious display of a natural phenomenon not often seen, at least by me. The sun popped up and the sky immediately went white-grey. Where color had been  vivid in the clouds and sky, pigments now, though still there, were subdued by a dominant ball of fire, the sun.

When aboard ship Gran'Pa saw the horizon 360 degrees around and, I'm sure, he saw spectacular sunrises and sunsets, in fact, a teal sky may be commonplace at sea. I awaken to the eastern sky out my two rear windows and usually catch the moment of sunrise as it happens. It hasn't been too colorful until recently, just the plume from Limerick to catch my continual interest.

Watch nature, watch the sky. You, too, may find recording your observations a pleasure as I do.

Ronald C. Downie

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