Monday, July 13, 2009

Mackerel Sky

When I was 15, I used to read the Oxford English Dictionary like people read fiction. I would randomly open some page and start reading. I don’t remember if I used to take notes or just make a mental note of words that I though interesting.

One such phrase I picked up was “Mackerel Sky”. The oxford dictionary defined it as “Sky dappled with rows of small white fleecy clouds”.

I could only imagine what it would be like and my imagination was somewhat different from what turned out to be reality.

A mackerel sky gets its name from mackerel fish as the cloud arrangement resembles the scales of a mackerel fish.

It’s quite easy to spot a mackerel cloud pattern. They are really tiny clouds, the shape of balls, high up, closely packed or arranged in a pack of rows. In fact going by the scales of the mackerel fish that I looked up in Google, a mackerel cloud pattern is that which has several long streaks of clouds packed together and not tiny cloud balls. But even the ones with rows of disjoint balls of clouds qualify for the title.

They come in different colours, shades and hues depending on the time of the day – white, yellow, golden, orange, turmeric…
You will very often spot small patches of mackerel clouds here and there in the sky but it’s difficult to sight a “mackerel sky”- the whole sky or even half of it filled with mackerel clouds. I would Google search mackerel sky and look at the images there and wish I would get to see such lovely sights too.

A few months ago, I and my manager were driving to Jayanagar to meet a client. We reached and I got down from the car. I turned around and guess what I saw… A mackerel sky! It wasn’t the perfect mackerel sky. It was somewhat smudged and even the colour wasn’t the best you get – it was white against a blue sky. But if I am lucky, I will see an orange or a yellow mackerel sky. Someday.

For now, I will leave you with pictures that I took that evening. And yeah! – fortunately I was carrying my camera in my bag that day :-)

Didn't I say in my previous post that nature is a source of magical moments? :-) here is one...

Mackerel skies are spoken of in the popular bywords,

"Mackerel in the sky, three days dry"

"Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry"

And the nautical weather rhyme, "Mare's tails and mackerel scales / Make tall ships carry low sails."


Rishi said...

I don't know if anyone gets trigger to write a blog article the way you do. This is simply brilliant.


Sowmya said...

Thanks Rishi :)

As I treasure one magical moment, I hope I will attract many more...

Satish said...

You never cease to amaze me.... Another facet as a photographer revealed :)

Sowmya said...

Thanks Satish :) for your nice words and for being a regualr visitor

Ketan said...


The post was very informative, and quite interesting! I used to read a lot of obscure things (hope the term doesn't offend you :) ) on Wikipedia. And, it gets pretty interesting despite my not thinking of myself as much of a 'trivia'-person.

BTW, I very much liked the name of your blog, and maybe as I go through your blog further, I'll learn what do you consider to be the domain of 'nature'.

And if it amuses you, I landed on your blog yesterday trying to search for the movie to which the song--'Kya janoon sajan' belonged, and your blog proved to be nothing less than a neglected serendipity, which incidentally is the name of my blog.

Take care.

Sowmya said...

Welcome to this space Ketan,

Thanks for your nice words...

Now that you have mentioned it, even I wonder about the limits of the domain of nature! Are there boundaries at all? Does it not include EVERYTHING?...

However, when I said nature, I meant it in the most widely understood sense.

Keep coming here and thanks for the comment :)