Trip to Boston Includes a Celestial Wonder

We drove to Boston yesterday.

New buds and spring blooms colored the landscape. All along the roadsides and in the median, great swathes of blooming red sheep sorrel (rumex acetosella) streaked the newgreen grass of verge and median.

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The superhighway median, streaked red with blooming sheep sorrel. 

I don’t really like superhighways, but their engineering, their shapes and geometries have always appealed to me. The plant life along these roads is interesting, too. Many of these roads have been built in my lifetime.  I’ve seen the bare earth of their first days be smoothed over by time. Over time, the planted roadside grasses are invaded by other species — flowers, bushes and trees. The decades since construction have been a constantly changing demonstration of natural succession.

Crews have been out picking up the winter’s accumulated litter.

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Three yellow bags and one “road alligator”. 

We managed to navigate to our destination, parked, and walked about a bit.

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Trees in the city have burst into leaf. Boston is blessed with lots of trees.

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Boston trees as seen from an eighth floor window.

Out on the street again, people were looking to the sky.

Taking pictures.

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And oohing and aahing.

At a celestial wonder.

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What IS that?

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A wonder of nature. Similar to, but not exactly like sunbows and sundogs I have seen. Back home, when able to get online, I posted some of these cloud pictures.

Soon afterwards, the National Weather Service folks from the Boston area office ID’d these as “nacreous” clouds. They’re also called “polar stratospheric clouds”, because they form at extremely high altitudes, 49,000 feet and above.

For more, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polar_stratospheric_cloud

“Nacre” is mother-of-pearl.

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Don’t these clouds have all the iridescent shimmer of a pretty shell?

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