A cloud is born...
A cloud is born... Charles Mudede

Returning to Seattle this morning from a vineyard near Yamhill, Oregon, and crossing an area between Sunset Highway and the Columbia River, I saw the sight that a part of my soul always sucks in with the vacuum of my eyes and concentrates into a single point of satisfaction: clouds rising from or clinging to or weaving through the tops of evergreen trees. There are massive gas and dust clouds in deep space that are the nursery of stars. I always imagine that the morning forests on the hills or on flat land are where clouds are born. It's a childhood spent among the leaves before they rise up to, or are burned off by a sun slowly climbing the autumn sky. But my dawn-dreaming is not completely fanciful. There might be some science in it.

There is indeed a hypothesis that inland clouds actually do come from the leaves of trees. If trees did not release water vapor into the air—water drawn from the ground and pumped up the trunk—then remote inland areas would be as dry as bones. Coastal forests function as biotic pumps that produce rivers in the sky. Russian scientists Victor Gorshkov and Anastassia Makarieva are behind this forest (or biotic) pump hypothesis. So, as the Columbia River guides terrestrial water in one direction (to the sea), forests guide them in the opposite direction (to land masses).

If this hypothesis is correct, then we can expect deforestation to lead to longer droughts and larger deserts...