Saturday, May 28, 2011


When the wind comes in from the northeast,
the skies darken, it turns cold
and the unmistakable stench of crowded cows
drifts in from the feedlots in Greeley.
While the people from away wonder, "Eeew, what's that?",
we put on our jackets and expect moisture.
Clouds smack up against the mountains,
cool and then fall down,
either as lots of rain and/or snow.
We call it upslope.

Casey Klahn has appropriately asked for clarification...

Continental features like the abrupt rise
of the Rocky Mountains out of the Great Plains
make the weather here very dynamic.

I painted this view looking from our house
across Boulder to Flagstaff Mountain
a little more than a mile to the southwest.
The dark blue is the side of that mountain, shadowed by
thick rain clouds hanging like a fog bank.
Above that is an even denser cloud layer
which can boil up into a thunderstorm.
Although it all looks quite still,
shown in time-lapse, it's one of the greatest shows on earth.

This is an amazing place.


brian eppley said...

I feel the moisture and smell the stench.

Posted from a small town on the eastern shore of Mary land.

Casey Klahn said...

Tell us some more about this image, Sam.

Celeste Bergin said...

Well, I'm from Illinois. We had cows in our back yard. I know that smell. It's pleasant. Love the painting--this post is a good experience.

SamArtDog said...

Hi Bri o' The Eastern Hinterlands---
Isn't it called the Pennsylvania Upslope back there?

SamArtDog said...

Thanks Celeste---
I agree that backyard cows are sweet, but there's fear in the feedlot. Fear does not smell nice. Neither do the processing plants. It's enough to put you off your feed!

SamArtDog said...

You were right. I hope the story is clearer now.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

When you pay attention to the nuances of the shifts in cloud color, shape, thickness, value, smell, it's like you've hooked into a secret world. Upslope. You obviously are in on the secrets!

SamArtDog said...

Seeing nuance is like free-diving; it takes a long-held breath to see the depths.

Sheila Vaughan said...

What an amazing Jala-esque Sam-esque painting. I live at the foothills of (hills) - can't really call them mountains but that grey cloud cover, yep, it's similar.
But the real gem was your phrase "the unmistakeable stench of crowded cows". Come on Sam, that is a Booker Prize cracker. I suspect you are a closet novelist.