Pink lines in the sky

Few airplanes cross over our valley. In the height of summer we may hear the whirr of a fire helicopter carrying water in its belly to a distant fire, the whirr that always makes our hearts beat faster as we scan the horizon for smoke. Probably once a year a light airplane passes overhead. We used to see, once a week, a high trail of a big airliner, a fine line heading due north from South Africa we presumed; haven’t seen that for a while so perhaps the airline’s route has changed. Rarely, airforce jets. sunset3 22-8-13We do not dislike the passing traffic which travels high, so high we cannot hear the engines, because they leave behind a special gift. Con trails, short for condensation trails, are the long thin artificial clouds which form behind aircraft. Most often triggered by the water vapour in the exhaust of the aircraft’s engines, or by changes in air over the wings, they are made of billions of liquid droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air. sunset2 22-8-13To us, they mean glorious sunsets. sunset4 22-8-13At their purest, the con trails transform into pink lines which look as if they were drawn by a watercolour artist. Often there is a window of only 15-20 minutes when the con trails and the position of the sun combine to beautiful effect. sunset1 22-8-13
5 to remember
el avión – airplane
poco/a – few
el helicóptero – helicopter
el vientre – belly
el runrún – whirr

12 thoughts on “Pink lines in the sky

      1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt

        I did finally grow up and learn about contrails and all other science facts that put my babyish musings to the ground. Found I do love science but the romance of all those warring – loving – unpredictable gods – they could leave pink blazes across the sky, couldn’t they? I mean, as they go off to do ordinary things, like wash their togas in the clouds?


    1. sandradan1 Post author

      The other great thing is that it’s always a nice surprise at the end of the day, impossible to plan. Except perhaps at Bryce Canyon, my all-time favourite place for sunsets! SD



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