An Eye to the Sky . . .
I noticed a long time ago that television and radio weather reports, great resources
that they may be, create not only a kind worrisome dependence on their often in
the mountains inaccurate information, but also take away our own ability, even perhaps
our motivation, to look and read the clouds for ourselves.
I have noticed also that the best readers of weather I've ever had the pleasure to meet
where the older mountain guides and hut caretakers in the European Alps. They
seem to watch, to be alive to every minute change in the alpine environment.
Not just the shape and movement of clouds, but also the winds at different altitudes,
the behavior of the birds and other wild animals, the sound the mountain streams make,
the sound the snow makes under their boots at last light. And they invariably go out
two or three hours before sunrise to read the night sky.
The reason why these guides are so watchful is simple. Everything depends on it.
A climb is first completed with the safe return, and having auspicious weather
conditions is frequently the determining factor.
Awakening this 'eye to the sky' should be a part of every young person's
education. The Europeans still do this by the ancient system of guilds and
apprenticeship, a system we might do well to study seriously and closely.
NEW: To view / purchase different sized prints of this image at the
PhotoWeek Store click here. view as SLIDESHOW |