Merry Christmas to all the good bloggenvolk out in the world! Thank you for the visits and the thoughtful comments- I appreciate all of them and do visit the linked sites.

As the sun sets in northern Colorado this Christmas eve, the back range of mountains are shrouded in the seasonal foehn wall of clouds with higher lenticular clouds scattered along the length of the Front Range. In some locations, stacks of lenticular clouds mark the spot where a standing wave of stratified zones of humid air mass is orographically lifted to form these curious formations. They resemble stacks of white flapjacks and can change their shape over a period of a few minutes.

On one memorable evening during cruise descent from altitude into Denver eastbound across the Rockies, we flew alongside a stack of salmon-orange hued lenticular clouds backlit from the setting sun. It was truly magical. Exiting the plane I mentioned this to the pilot and she nodded knowingly. At least a few of us were paying attention to the greatest show on earth.

In my mind’s eye, when I think of christmas the first image that appears is a field of Iowa cornstalks jutting out of drifted snow, ice crystals glinting from the surface crust in the low sun of winter. Indoors, my grandmother cooks lutefisk and scalloped potatoes while my grandfather taps out a polka on the piano. It is now a hundred years and a million miles distant. I miss those people.