13 July 2011

Ruisdael Clouds

As a Midwesterner, it should come as no surprise that talking about "the weather" is "a thing". Our winters are cold, our summers are hot, and as you Chicagoans know, when it rains it pours. As a veteran of crazy weather, I didn't think there was anything I hadn't seen. But what I really wasn't expecting was how drastically the weather changes from hour to hour here in Hamburg.

When getting ready to pack for this trip, I looked up the weekly weather to get an idea for what I would need to wear. The day-to-day report showed me highs in the upper-70's and lows in the high-50's/mid-60's. I was shown pictures of clouds, sun, and rain - but nothing really prepared me for reaching highs, lows, rain, sun, and clouds all in the span of a few hours. It's safe to say that the female lead in Part 1 of Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express had it right, always wear a raincoat and bring sunglasses. There was even one day when it was pouring and completely sunny all at once. Yes, there was a gigantic rainbow.

I think the variety of clouds here is what really gets me though. Every time I look up at the sky, I picture Ruisdael looking up at the sky, and then making one of his amazing paintings.

And now, for some of my own!
lake clouds
clouds and river
clouds and beach
clouds and cranes
clouds and boats


  1. I LOVE talking about the weather. As a fellow Midwesterner, I find it a comfortable conversation topic and not necessarily boring at all given the day's forecast. (Although comparing the forecast to the actual weather is always a fun topic since they rarely match up.) It's certainly much easier to discuss than the polite but rarely honestly answered question of "How are you?" However one time I was indulging in weather small talk with my German friend Anneke back in Edinburgh and she stopped me short practically yelling at me that, "We can't talk about the weather! In Germany if you talk about the weather its a clue that the conversation isn't going anywhere." I find it ironic that a lot Minnesotans ancestors originated from Germany and enjoy weather discussions, yet Germans today don't.

  2. My cousin visited from southern California last March and he couldn't stop marveling at how we Midwesterners seem to always talk about the weather. I think it's a huge factor in our lives, and given how crazy it has been getting these last few years, I think it warrants a daily discussion.