On Cloud Storage

Mythopoetic nephology has come a long way in the last few decades, in particular as it relates to the storage of clouds. As everyone knows, clouds are notoriously perishable, in particular the more volatile varieties such as thunderheads. Keeping them intact is a true art.

The composition of clouds is the chief clue to this difficulty. As every young meteorologist knows, clouds are composed of varying proportions of gossamer, ether, ectoplasm, and osmazome. The proportions are what determine the cloud type. For example, the standard cumulus is formed of 3% gossamer, 76% ether, 4% ectoplasm, and 19% osmazome, whereas the high-flown cirrus virtually reverses these proportions, with the exception of the gossamer content, which bears an inverse relationship. Careful study of the structure and composition of clouds means that modern cloud storage has advanced far beyond the traditional methods that homemakers have used for centuries.

This is the method that probably everyone remembers from their childhood, in the words of Robert Wrigley, “Clouds should be folded just like fitted sheets and stored in dark plastic bags in a deep freeze.”  However, as your mother’s mother probably discovered, this doesn’t always hold true (and fitted sheets are a bitch to fold). Dark clouds, for example, should never be folded, as this permanently creases their silver lining. Dark clouds should always be stored flat or tethered.

Here are a few storage techniques that will help you to decide what storage method is appropriate for your clouds.

  • Nimbuses will keep for years if pickled. Fan them out in the jar before pouring in the brine, and then store in a cool pantry.
  • Cirrus clouds should be draped over the barn rafters to dry.
  • Lenticulars should be held in saline solution, though in a pinch, for short-term storage, they may be held in one cup of an old brassiere.
  • You may have been taught to stack Stratus clouds. This is no longer considered the best method. Cloud librarians now file them vertically in specially constructed drawers.

For hybrid clouds, combine methods as necessary.

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About timwaterman

I am a landscape architect, urbanist, writer, and lecturer based in London.

One response to “On Cloud Storage”

  1. Jeff Paulsen says :

    I have some pickled nimbuses from 2004, put up in a fit of exuberance. Living where I do, there’s an abundance of fresh clouds basically every day, so I despair of ever finding occasion to decant any.

    Any suggestions for recipes or household uses?

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