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Red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning

It is a well known adage that red sky in the morning forecasts shepherds’ delight, whereas a red sky in the morning should be shepherds’ warning. Another version replaces shepherds with sailors, although the signification is the same – a rosy red sunset suggests that good weather is on the way, where as a beautiful red sky in the morning is usually a foreboding sign of bad weather ahead.

According to wikipedia, the proverb is a rule of thumb for weather forecasting dating back over 2000 years – allegedly it has a scientific basis as well: due to the rotation of the Earth from west to east, storm systems tend to travel eastward across the globe. As a result, a reddish sunrise, caused by particles suspended in the air, often foreshadow an approaching storm which will arrive from the West within the day, while conversely, a reddish sunset (because it sets in the West) indicates that the storm is travelling away from the viewer.

It’s little surprise then that what with the wretched weather we have had in the UK of late, with rainstorms and gloom pretty much every day, I have been waking up to some pretty stunning light shows across the London sky. So beautiful were they that I couldn’t help but share them. Check these out…

It seems almost churlish that the skies commence the day with such beauty and promise, only to then gather together so many clouds, and so much wet, cold, autumnal gloom as the day moves on that all light is obliterated and beauty destroyed. Still, one must find the silver lining in every cloud, as another adage stipulates, and in enjoying the beauty of these brief morning moments, I at least find a reason to drag myself out of my warm cosy bed, all the quicker so that I can capture the beauty on camera before it slips away into grey.

I leave you with a very appropriate quote from William Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis (1593)

“Like a red morn that ever yet betokened,
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”

Here’s hoping for a red sunset tomorrow!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. petit4chocolatier #

    Beautiful skies! Thank you for sharing : )

    October 23, 2012
  2. Val #

    I love the red-sky sunsets, particularly when it gets to a shade that I usually refer to as ‘watermelon red’.

    Do you remember the awful fire some years ago… I think in Hemel Hempstead? I know it was quite a long way outside of London… the sunsets after that were astonishing because of all the pollution in the air, yet thinking about what caused it marred it a lot.

    PS. I’m unfollowing your blog in the system but don’t worry – will still be reading – am just changing the way I get to people’s blogs. (Did a post the other day, explaining it.)

    October 24, 2012

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