This is the scenic journey into the clouds--a mix of science, art, physics, humor, and deep appreciation for these natural wonders we too often overlook or take for granted.

This is the scenic journey into the clouds--a mix of science, art, physics, humor, and deep appreciation for these natural wonders we too often overlook or take for granted.

I fell in love with clouds the same way I stumble into most passions: madly and unexpectedly.  A Sideways Look at Clouds is the story of my quite accidental infatuation with and education about the clouds above. When I moved to the soggy Northwest, I assumed that locals would know everything there was to know about clouds, in the same way they know about salmon, tides, and the Seahawks. Yet in my first two years of living in Washington i never heard anyone talk about clouds. Puzzled by this lack of cloud savvy, decided to survey people I knew—men and women, new friends, family on the East Coast, outdoorsy and indoorsy types, professional scientists, and liberal arts majors like herself. The results showed that, while people knew a little bit about clouds, most were like me: they had a hard time identifying clouds or remembering their names; as adults, life had largely sidetracked their sky- gazing time.  

My book is the result of nearly a decade of looking up, of wondering, of learning what I could about the clouds from books and from direct personal experience as they floated past--beautiful, generous, ephemeral all at once. My book is not a text book nor is it guide to everything about clouds; it is an exploration of the clouds in my life and a story of how to learn about something you know nothing about.  It will, I hope,  encourage you to chart your own rambling, idiosyncratic course into the clouds.

LIBRARY JOURNAL: "...a delightful exposition on clouds."  "[Ruth's] personal experiences and asides enrich the well-explained technical details. Read the full review here.  

RICHARD HAMBLYN (Author, The Invention of Clouds) "This book is a true delight: a beautifully written, lyrical account of the drama and mystery of clouds."

JIM LYNCH (Author of Before the Wind, Truth Like the Sun, Border Songs, and Highest Tide "Maria Mudd Ruth's irresistible journey to understand, appreciate, and explain clouds somehow makes the daily sky more fascinating and beguiling. What  a gift! I'd recommend this book to anyone who's curious about the the natural world, anyone who appreciates precise writing, any one with a sense of humor. A book to read again and again."

THE ECHO:  "With tenacity that pushes mere idle curiosity to the mat, Ruth pulls clouds in close and asks more questions than you ever contemplated, probing their mysteries and then digging deeper to question even the questions." Read the full review here.

SKAGIT VALLEY HERALD: "Ruth invites readers to let their curiosity take over and to join her on her mission to truly see and understand the clouds..." Read the full article here.

THE OLYMPIAN: "I'm probably a cloud-watching addict...Once you see how much beauty is up there, it's really hard to look away." Read the full article here.

KITSAP SUN: "Here’s somebody who is down-to-earth enough to talk to the 99.9 percent of us who walk underneath clouds all the time, but don’t have a clue about how they form, why they assume different shapes and different colors, and what makes them precipitate." Read the full review here. 

KATU-TV PORTLAND: Watch my interview on "Afternoon Live" and "AMNW" aired on November 1 and 2 in advance of my talk at Powell's Books on Hawthorne in Portland, OR.

XRAY-FM RADIO: Listen to  my interview  on "XRAY in the Morning" with host Jefferson Smith...just slide the bar to 1:54.48.  Before you do, look up to make sure Tom Cruise isn't hanging from your ceiling.

Here (below) is a trailer to give you a sense of A Sideways Look at Clouds.

Each week, I will post an excerpt from one of the chapters of my book and photographs and supplemental illustrations to enhance your reading pleasure of my book. These "Sideways+" posts can be read here: Prologue... Cloud...Visible...Mass...Water...Droplets

A longer excerpt from the Prologue can be read here.  My upcoming speaking and book-signing events are listed on my Events page. A gallery of some of the clouds that distracted me, mesmerized me, and inspired me to write A Sideways Look at Clouds can be enjoyed below. (All photos by me.)

Meteorology and Clouds on the Web

ART RANGNO--THE CLOUD MAVEN (Inspiration for my book and source of "A Guide the Sky" Poster

Cliff Mass's Weather Blog (OUR very Own Pacific Northwest ATMOSPHERIC SCIENTIST & Weather guru)

National Weather Service (SERIOUS METEOROLOGY)

NOAA/National Weather Service Cloud ID Chart (pdf of photos, codes, WATER CyCLE, LINGO)

National Weather Service Weather Forecast for Olympia, WA  (change zipcode to your locale)

The Cloud Appreciation Society (All THINGS CLOUD From 43,000 Cloud Lovers around the globe)

THE INTERNATIONAL CLOUD ATLAS (The 2017 DIGITAL edition from the World Meteorological Society)

THE CLOUD ATLAS PROJECT (A project organized by the Rocky Mountain Land Library)



Hang on to your Stratocumulus. Read this article in the journal Nature Geoscience. (No, I am not a regular reader of this journal, but my good friends at Grist included in their daily newsfeed on February 25, 2019.)

From Cloud Nine to Climate Change, Here's Why You Should Always Look Up, by Anne Ellis Nutt (Washington Post 10/7/2017)

Romance and Miracles in the City of Fog (by John DeMont,The Chronicle Herald (Halifax) 1/29/2019) My list of fog names is included in this article!