2009-08-04 23:24:24.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

My shadow after a morning observation.

The week can be summarized by shadows. The biggest shadows came from the sun which shown down a few times this week finally breaking up the monotony of fog, clouds and rain that has been this summers theme it seems. The rising sun shown orange hews around the morning shadows while the setting sun shown hews of blue and purple around the afternoon shadows. And the shadows didn’t end with the setting sun as they lingered into the night as the moon neared its capacity casting my shadow about the deck during my hourly rounds last night and earlier tonight. When we couldn’t see our shadows, it was because the shadow of a cloud above us was being cast down trumping ours. There was a time this week when a cap cloud shrouded the summit in a shadow while the rest of the state basked in warm sunlight. But when we were cloudless, we took advantage of it with hiking. As Mike F mentioned in his comment this weekend, we hiked down to the top of the Great Gulf and watched the shadows of the Northern Presidential’s stretch across the basin like four large, dark fingers. While the mountains were expanding their shadows so were we. All the good food this week provided by our volunteers has stretched our waistlines a bit making our personal shadows more pear shaped than normal. But then there were the metaphorical shadows that were cast on each of us as we worked through our own personal projects.

A shadow was cast on Brian as he worked tirelessly on getting our video conferencing system working better than ever. A shadow was cast on Mike F as he worked on improving our timesheet entry and delivery for the week. A shadow was cast on the interns as they continued work on entering B-16’s and their own intern projects while keeping in mind that they both only have one more shift to work on them and with us. A shadow loomed over our volunteers each night as they worked through their first week trying to think of good and interesting meals to feed us. The summit museum lacks windows but even shadows shown over our museum attendant as she balanced her register each night after a busy day. And a couple shadows shown down over me as I balanced several projects that had due dates with them this week, especially monthly check (which is now posted for all those interested).

But while there were many personal shadows being cast this week the important thing we all had to remind ourselves about were two of the fundamentals of a shadow. One is that behind every shadow shines a light. Sometimes the light is bright and makes our projects easy but sometimes it is dim like a dying flashlight that needs a bit of shaking. And second, shadows form in the opposite direction of said light. So it is better to look into the light and not down at the ground or behind us. For our projects, the light was the finished products we were aiming for. As long as we always moved forward towards our goals the shadows would never overtake us. And eventually we all met our individual goals taking us out of the darkness of our personal shadows and into the light…at least for this week.

Observer footnote: This Wednesday, Mount Washington Observatory invites you on a virtual fieldtrip tothe Miami Science Museum to meet the rare and amazing creatures of the Everglades.The fourth program in our six-week “Science in the Mountains: A Passport toScience” videoconference lecture series, “When Animals Talk” will be presented liveat the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center on August 5 at 7 p.m.Admission is free, and all ages are invited to attend.

And if you arrive a bit early, you can enjoy the great show of Mount Washington art presented bymembers of the Mount Washington Valley Arts Association.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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