Archive for June 7th, 2013

June 7, 2013

Weekend Nature Challenge: Looking Up

by Melissa Harding

cloudsI bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder…

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

– Excerpted from The Cloud by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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How often do you notice the clouds? It depends how often you look up. We all spend so much time looking down – watching where we walk, looking for dropped keys, tying our shoes, gazing into our cell phones – that we forget to look up. There doesn’t seem like there should be that much to see up there except sky, but that is misleading; just as there is a whole world under the soil, there is a whole world in the sky. Not just clouds, but birds, butterflies, bats, fluttering leaves and petals, sunshine and the wonderful feeling that life just goes on forever up there. This weekend, we challenge you and your family to look up. Lie on your backs in the grass to watch the clouds pass and the birds fly. Guess aloud what shape each cloud is forming; children love clouding watching! Lie under a tree and look up for bird nests and other animals homes (or the animals themselves!). You’ll be surprised what you have been missing when you’ve been looking down.

Take the next few days to explore the world above your head and cloud watch with your child. What strange shapes did you discover? Did you see anything else of note? Tell us in the comments below.

The above picture is courtesy of NASA.

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