Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Definitions: Nimbostratus Cloud

(1) A nimbostratus cloud is a rain cloud, especially a low dark layer of cloud accompanying continuous rain or, if you prefer brighter colors and are lucky, snow.

These clouds are typically at a height of a quarter mile (0.4 km), which is just a bit too high to hit if you throw rocks at them in hopes of scaring them off.

Spitting doesn't work either (it just comes back at you), so don't bother trying that, though loud cursing can help to keep you warm, and may attract wolves, which will give you a reason to run, which in turn will make you that much warmer. Could be worse.

(2) Nimbostratus clouds are a low-level cloud type, formless and dark gray in color, and occur in layers at low altitude (normally below 1.5 miles or 2.4 km). They usually bring gloomy precipitation and/or depression, thoughts of suicide, and that slimy feeling you get inside your rain gear after a couple of miles of walking in drizzle. This is of course the essence of backpacking, so you do have a reason to rejoice, right?

(3) Another definition: Just in case you were wondering, the word nimbostratus means rain plus sheet, which are some of the words you might use, though with slight pronunciation differences.

Interesting facts: Rain and snow often accompany these nimbostratus clouds, coloring the sky a bright and cheery solid gray. (Inserted here in case you missed the previous mentions.)

Besides that, these clouds scrape along at altitudes so low that you always feel like ducking. But this never helps. The bases of nimbostratus clouds are actually too high for you to bump your head on though generally there will be plenty of rocks around in most locations so you can amuse yourself by pounding them against your head to make the time pass more quickly.

Nimbostratus clouds are said to develop when a front of warm, moist air meets a body of cold, dry air, but that's only science talk. When the day is dull and dark, and rain is falling steadily, and everything is gray, don't blame it on warm, moist air meeting a body of cold, dry air. To put it that way sounds almost romantic, and makes it seem like it's understandable. It isn't. It's your unfathomable fate at work. Probably.

Endless, gray, featureless, weeping clouds could be what you deserve. And if not you, then someone, somewhere, and you're only reaping the collateral benefits of their karma.

And really, does it matter if you are the one suffering due to your own issues, or because of someone else's transgressions? Truly? Aren't we all interchangeable in a fundamental way? After all, is there any proof you can provide that you are actually any better in any real sense? At all?

Probably not, so forget it and keep walking in the rain. Enjoy the gray, and that numb feeling in your hands. It's likely to clear up in a week or two. Or maybe next month. One of these days.

One of these days the sun will break through to warm and cheer the world again, for 15 minutes or so, before the clouds close in again and the rain resumes. Which could be what you in fact do deserve.

Who can say?

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