Can you see it? The dark impressions from cloud movements at this development and photo enhancement levels sort of make it look as though Mickey Mouse is playing catch with the moon and some other celestial partner. – Pluto, perhaps?
Last Saturday night, my family was among the gentrified TV watchers who hastened outside in the early mid-evening time to observe and photograph the moon on its nearest approach to earth, in what? A thousand years? A million years? I’m not sure. All I can remember is that it sounded like some serious time span.
With my trusty little Sony digital camera and tts limited telescopic magnification, I couldn’t get anything better than this picture, especially with a free hand shot into the Houston west side night sky, and maybe I’m the only one to boot who also sees the impression of Mickey Mouse’s head and throwing arm. I was a cloud-watcher as a kid and never recovered from the joy of the search – even in the glimpses available by moonlight on an active cloudy night.
Once upon a time, long before we had The Weather Channel and all the heavily staffed and tecked-up climatic analysts at every local TV channel in town, we Houstonians had clouds, breezes, the relative presence of body heat and humidity, and that other barometer in the bones of our elders to tell us that a storm was coming and that seasons were changing. Look hard to the northwest sky in late September or early October in the daytime and you could actually watch a norther rolling into the Houston area. You cold watch the northwest winds pushing a line of clouds in a line to the southeast. As kids, we used to go out to the sandlot as one of those cool fronts was close to blowing in on us and just play a little catch as we waited – waited for the first kick of cool air at ground level.
Then came the first wind of autumn. When the leaves began to scatter, and paper trash began to skip down Japonica and Myrtle streets, we knew that fall was finally, at last, really here. We knew it because the sweating stopped, wearing shoes and maybe a sweater even felt good again, and we got there too without ever once having Channel 2 interrupting The Lone Ranger, Superman, or any of our other favorite television programs simply to inform us that it was about to rain and to advise us that we should now head for our underground bunkers, if we had them.
In 1950, Channel 2 gave us more credit. We were on our own to figure out that rain could cause us to get wet if we walked out into it.
What a different world it is today in air-conditioned Houston. I didn’t say it was better or worse. I just said it is different now.
I do think we were more connected to changes in the weather prior to home air conditioning. How could we not be? Those of us who lived here back then, lived in and with the weather twelve months a year. No two days were even close to being exactly alike, except for the 31 Days of August, of course. August hasn’t changed much. It was always relentlessly hot and life-sucking humid. Was then. Is now.
Amazing. This whole chain of thought was put in motion by a decision to go outside last Saturday night and take a look at the moon. As kids, we used to check in on the day and night Houston sky a lot more often than kids today do, I think. It’s a little hard to see the sky when you need both eyes and two thumbs for texting.