With pics from Xiao Zhu Shan and Da Zhu Shan, check out the cloud line, the ever changing, from Huangdao Kaifaqu.
The Cloud Line
The mountains of Qingdao are barely large enough to be called mountains. Were they not rocky, surely they wouldn’t be. Hills they would be. But they are not. They are mountains.
One might not think that the mountains held the answer to any of life’s mysteries. Yet there are some. Consider for example, the cloud line.
In the atmosphere there are layers. Air and clouds occupy the space above the ground. The air and clouds arrange themselves into layers of different pressures and densities. Entering the mountains of Qingdao brings you right into this magical realm.
It’s enough even rising up into the foothills of the Qingdao mountains. In order to bear witness to the cloud line, one need not ascend high.
The clouds of summertime are usually quite low. There’s the regular fog, of course, those land-level clouds which (almost) never rain. The fog tends to morph into clouds which DO rain. These clouds are thicker and heavier. And they are higher in the sky than fog, though not necessarily much.
Repeated viewing of these rain clouds (which are virtually the same every time, every year) shows that the cloud gets compressed into a “layer” in the sky. You can almost see an invisible line in the sky upon which the cloud rests. This is The Cloud Line.
The amazing thing about the Qingdao cloud line is that, at least for rain clouds, it is not very high. Sometimes, it hangs quite low. I recall a very dark, black typhoon which was hanging merely 200 meters above KaiFaQu. As the cloud moved, that height fluctuated. Clouds are alive.
If you see a particularly dark or blackish cloud (even among other white or grey clouds) and you can see foggy tendrils hanging beneath the cloud (hanging beneath the cloud line, that is) like hair from a jellyfish, you can be pretty certain that that cloud is raining. The clouds often rain only one-by-one.
In the clouds lie dusk. It’s seldom black in a cloud, even at night, but they always speak of night, flowing past your body mysterious. The mountains of Qingdao bring you right to the cloud line. You can walk up into the cloud and then walk down out.
The cloud line is another one of those things that you might never notice, but once you do, you’re never quite the same as you were before.
Posts by Gars Kerbel