In 1966, the US Army produced a delightful and captivating animated film on clouds. Through it we learn the developments of ten basic types of clouds, their principal characteristics, their relative positions and average altitudes, and their flight hazards.
Lots of facts to study and know. But clouds are about so much poetry and art. How can the heavy-booted US Army tell the story of the dreamy, poetic, ephemeral, mood-laden and changing skies? The answer: with style and warmth.
Of course, not everyone sees the same cloud. However trained and prosaic we are, the elegant, moving shapes in the sky reveal different things to each of us:
Lucy van Pelt: “Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton… I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by… If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations… What do you think you see, Linus?”
Linus van Pelt: “Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean… That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor… And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen… I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side…”
Lucy: “Uh huh… That’s very good… What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?”
Charlie Brown: “Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!”
― Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960