Jasper Lynn joins in the A to Z during April. Today our post celebrates the letter E.
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Eye in the Sky
“Look! It’s a cat!” Stacy calls to her friend and points high in the sky.
Jane tipped her head back. She looked one way. She looked another way. She squinted an eye. “I don’t see it. I see a turtle.”
Stacy looked up again. “It’s moved. It changed shape already. My cat is gone.”
Jane giggled and pointed. “It’s still moving. Now it’s turning into a giant mushroom.”
The girls plopped down in the grassy park and laid on their backs. They watched the clouds floating along, moving, and changing shapes.
The next day the two girls walked into class together. They were still talking about the fun they’d had watching the clouds.
Their teacher, Mr. Nelson, overheard them talking. “Were they cumulus clouds?”
Stacy whipped her head around in surprise. “What? A…what did you call it?”
“Cumulus clouds. That’s when they’re white and puffy. They drift about in the sky like giant pieces of floating cotton.”
Jane nodded. “That’s exactly what they looked like. But they kept changing and moving. They didn’t stay the same shape for very long.”
Mr. Nelson nodded in agreement. “They don’t. The wind pushes them around. The faster the wind, the faster they move and change. Like giant shapeshifters in the sky.”
The bell rang and the girls hurried to their desks. Late students rushed in, hoping to get in their seat before the tardy bell rang.
Mr. Nelson walked back and forth across the front of the classroom. He waited for everyone to get seated and settle down. Everyone quieted down, except for two boys in the back. Jake and Lyle always talked. They were always the last two to stop chattering. Mr. Nelson finally clapped his hands to get their attention.
That worked. The whole class was quiet now.
Mr. Nelson stopped pacing. He stood and looked around the classroom. “We’re going to talk about something different today.”
The students looked at each other in surprise. It wasn’t like Mrs. Nelson to change his lesson plans.
He bent down and opened a drawer. He searched around, pulling out file folder after file folder. Finally, he straightened up. He held a thick, bulging file. He had a grin on his face that stretched from ear to ear.
“Today, instead of working on our math problems that we didn’t finish from yesterday…”
Everyone started clapping. Several of the louder students hollered out. “Hooray!” “Woohoo.” “Yay!”
Mr. Nelson held a finger up in the air. The class quieted again. “Before class, I was talking to Stacy and Jane. It gave me an idea.”
Stacy and Jane looked at each other across the aisle. Their eyes opened wide. Stacy’s mouth dropped open. They didn’t know whether this was a good thing, or a bad thing.
Mr. Nelson held a picture up in front of the class. “Clouds. We’re going to talk about clouds.”
The class groaned.
Stacy and Jane sunk down in their seats.
Jane whispered to Stacey. “I wish we could disappear.”
Mr. Nelson started with his lecture. He didn’t even need notes.
“These are ‘cumulus’ clouds. They’re the white, puffy clouds. They’re the ones that most often look like different shapes in the sky. Clouds are tiny droplets of water. They collect in a mass. They’re so small and light, even though they’re full of moisture, they still float in the air.”
Jake yelled from the back of the class. “I saw some of those yesterday. I saw one that looked like a giant bird.”
Mr. Nelson nodded. He looked pleased to have caught Lyle’s attention.
“Cumulous clouds can grow. They can develop into giant ‘cumulonimbus’ clouds. They’re the ones that bring thunderstorms. High winds flatten the tops of them. Sometimes they’re full of rain. Sometimes they carry snow or hail. Lightning hides and flashes out across the sky and down to the ground. Tornadoes can form this in this type of cloud.”
Most the them turned their heads towards the windows at the side of the classroom.
Jake stood up in back. His eyes darted towards the door. “I don’t want any tornados!”
Mr. Nelson motioned for him to sit down. “Don’t worry. They’re not like that today.”
Lyle raised his hand high in the air.
“How are we going to remember all this? You told us two names and I already forgot them. Especially that last one…cummu…comea…whatever it was.”
“Don’t worry. This lesson is for fun and learning. You won’t have a test on it.”
Mr. Nelson took the picture he was holding and passed it to Betsy, sitting in the front row by the door. “Pass this around. This is the cumulus cloud. The name is written on the back.”
When the first picture started being passed around, he held up the next. “This is another ‘C’ cloud. These are ‘cirrus’ clouds. They form high in the sky, above 18,000 feet. They’re thin and wispy. They’re made of ice crystals because its so cold that high up. Sometimes the high winds up so high can push them along at over 100 miles per hour!”
He passed that picture out and held up another. “These are ‘stratus’ clouds. They lay low, close to the ground, under 6,500 feet. They’re often dark and gray. They’re so dense with moisture that they don’t let the sunshine through. Sometimes they rain on us. Sometimes they just drop a light mist or drizzle.”
Betsy held up her hand before speaking. “That’s the days that my mom calls ‘gray and gloomy’. She doesn’t like those days.”
Mr. Nelson shook his head up and down. “A lot of people don’t. A lot of people get depressed and sad on those days. Especially when they don’t move very fast. They float in and stay around for a few days.”
He held up one more picture. “Last one. These are called ‘alto’ clouds. They’re made of a combination of ice crystals and water droplets. They form in the middle of the sky. Not too high. Not to low-“
Lyle burst out again from the back of the class. “Just like the Goldilocks story…not too hard and not too soft…not too hot and not too cold…”
All the students burst into laughter. But the one laughing loudest was Mr. Nelson.
Eye in the Sky is a story in This and That Too, scheduled for release May 2020.