When I was a kid, my mother always called a sky like this a “buttermilk” sky. When I went to write this post, I decided to double check the name of the clouds and, in the process of checking, I found that some sites use the term “buttermilk sky” and “mackerel sky” interchangeably. My mother pointed out mackerel skies to me, too, but they were distinctly different from the buttermilk ones. I wondered how this current confusion could have happened. Maybe nobody remembers what either of them, the fish and the dairy product, actually looks like. That could be because of the fast food way we eat these days. Buttermilk and mackerel just aren’t at the top of most people’s shopping lists anymore (if they ever were!) Anyway, it looks like buttermilk skies, and the mackerel ones, too, are made up of either cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds. These types of high-altitude clouds (along with the ones called “mare’s tails”) are my favorites.
Here is some real buttermilk for comparison (click to enlarge to see the flecks)
And here’s a mackerel sky, and a real mackerel.
There, that should clear everything up! (except for maybe the clouds themselves)
For more beautiful skies from around the world, visit SKYWATCH
Mackerel sky photo at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/Atmosphere/images/cirrocumulus2_small.jpg Mackerel fish photo at http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/nof/fish/images/mackerel_large.jpg Buttermilk photo at http://www.bigoven.com/157618-Homemade-Buttermilk-recipe.html
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.