Spontaneous outings are often the ones people enjoy the most, and today I took off in search of an iridescent cloud after I’d stumbled upon the following tweet:
Every time a magnificent phenomenon comes up I promise myself I will definitely check it out, with the mantra ‘don’t you come up with any excuses this time, nor will you forget about it or sleep through it’. But I keep disappointing myself and tend to miss out on each supermoon, the annual Perseid meteor shower and every pollution induced red sunset.
And when I finally can witness a roll cloud or even a small tornado, I either happen to look the other way or even worse, I remain skeptical. Such things couldn’t possibly happen in Belgium, certainly not when I’m around! Even when the 2011 storm hit us at Pukkelpop, I at first thought the leaves were just falling because the wind had picked up a bit. Because that’s what leaves do in August. Obviously.
The pain of the hailstorm forced us -all four of us- underneath a tiny umbrella. We had friends running around after they’d lost one another and the bruises that turned up on their legs sure didn’t look pretty. In spite of the storm (what’s a little storm?) there were still people who hoped the festival would continue. Of course, I was one of them, blissfully unaware as always. In spite of my inability to see it for what it was, I had wisely called my mum to say the festival might possibly be mentioned on the news but it probably wouldn’t, although you never knew because it was August and interesting news was rare. She was ever so glad I’d made that call.
Other festivalgoers had parents and beloved ones fretting over their well-being; in some cases the outcome was dramatic. This storm took five lives and left many more injured while I kept wondering when the Foo Fighters would show up.
Founder Chokri Mahassine somewhat eased my feelings of guilt in a recent interview in the VTM series Lotgenoten:
The atmosphere was very strange. While [there were] youngsters who didn’t understand why everything had been called off -turning to me personally-, you also saw people crying, victims, people who were hurt, tents that were down, branches from trees… In fact, you saw… the chaos, what had happened.
So I’d be lying if I told you I’ve never witnessed a violent or curious weather phenomenon. Also, during cosy campfire nights in the Ardennes I’ve been able to see that glowing band in which the Milky Way makes itself visible to us. Until someone explained it to me I kept wondering what that strange space mist was… Last summer I saw a couple of falling stars. Possibly that was that Perseid meteor shower, but I really don’t have a clue.
Anyway, this afternoon I decided I wouldn’t let myself down: I took my ‘filming gear’ (consisting of: a compact Panasonic camera and a GoPro) and the dog. We walked and walked from the moment the sun started to set until it was pitch dark, me continuously watching the sky for that unique moment. Today’s catch:
I hope I haven’t let you down, but if you’ve just read the above you know I couldn’t possibly have come up with a picture of an iridescent cloud.
All I have to offer is a very happy dog that got a lovely walk out in the cold. And a tiny, white cloud.