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We have some amazing clouds at times. With air masses often colliding over our region, our skyscapes are can be much more intriguing than those of the prairies where I grew up. But sometimes even non-dramatic clouds lead to questions.

A few days ago we had these silky, almost polished clouds on one side of the sky. I could imagine the wind smoothing them out, like bunny fur. (Unfortunately, the photo does not at all do justice to their unusual shiny smoothness.)

But, as you can tell by looking at the top cloud, something else was happening there. What was the wind doing to make these clouds so very different, and what was happening in the blue space between the polished clouds and this one, the space where the wind’s action was not made visible by clouds?

When I turned around, I saw that much of the rest of the sky was like this top cloud. As a physicist, I know something about what happens at the molecular level in clouds, about condensation and ice crystal formation, temperature gradients, the effects of local humidity changes, and more, although the precise details are still beyond the understanding of researchers in the field.

But what has fascinated me for years is the air motion that the clouds make visible, and that is something I do not understand at all. Air motion—wind—depends on long-range changes in temperature and density, but in the short range it is also affected by the subtle temperature and density alterations due to water vapor condensing into water droplets or crystalizing into snowflakes.

The incredible complexity of clouds, ranging from the effects of the addition of a few more water molecules to a growing snowflake to the enormous forces of global air movement, is something that mankind may never understand fully.

But God does. God supervises clouds’ changes, moment by moment and molecule by molecule, integrating their effects, from shade to rain to storms, into human history! That leaves me open-mouthed with wonder.

And along with the psalmist I say,

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)

I pray that you, dear reader, will also notice God’s ‘eternal power and divine nature’ in the world around you, and give thanks to him. (Romans 1:20

I recently reviewed a book about clouds and the cloud mania that spread through Europe in the 1800s, The Invention of Clouds by Richard Hamblyn.

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This may be linked to Inspire Me Monday, Christian Homemaking, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.

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