Meet Local Cloud Appreciation Society Members

Sunday, August 27, 2006

An artist in Glen Arm, Md., and blogger for the District-based, Mark Barry , left, 51, is another avid cloud watcher.

"If I spent any more time looking up, I'd never get any work done," he says. "I mostly appreciate clouds as an artist. They're such difficult things to paint since they're always changing. You either have to have a good memory or work really fast."

Barry's own paintings, he says, generally don't focus on clouds. But he finds inspiration in them.

"As an artist I have seen the most amazing color combinations possible ever. What I have seen in the clouds (the ultimate canvas) would make anything I paint pale in comparison."

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Daniel Beyer , 45, of Burtonsville is a self-described lifelong cloud enthusiast. Think that hasn't earned him ribbing from friends and coworkers? He cares not.

"Plain blue skies are boring," he says. "I've been saying that for decades."

A computer analyst by profession, Beyer has made a hobby of photographing interesting cloud formations. After viewing a particularly strange one, he went online to try and identify it.

"I searched for 'clouds' and the Cloud Appreciation Society showed up," says Beyer. "I was like, damn! I guess I was shocked that there was anyone else in the world that thought about clouds the way that I did."

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When Leah Covel , 50, of Silver Spring told friends she had joined the Cloud Appreciation Society, the response was almost a universal: "Ohhhh."

The graduate student, who is studying to be a nurse practitioner, says that changed when "they realized it wasn't some organization with a political manifesto or people who were looking for signs of aliens in the clouds. Then they agreed it was a pretty cool thing." When her 22-year-old son-in-law expressed enthusiasm about clouds, Covel promptly enrolled him in the society as a birthday present.

"For me, clouds are very calming," says Covel. "It's hard to be upset about your little problems when you look at those big beautiful clouds. They're much bigger than my little life. As you get older your perspective changes. And I think that I appreciate more the cycle of the seasons and flowers and nature and clouds. It's reassuring to see the stability that all of these things in nature represent."

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