Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Summer shadows shortened

photo of Shadowed summer sun
© harrington
Hi! Ready for today's question? Here it is: "11.    On what day of the year are the shadows shortest where you live?" The answer is on the summer solstice, which, in the northern hemisphere occurs between June 20 and 22. The shortest shadows occur when the sun is highest in the sky. I'm sure each of you knew this and did well on this question. Gary Snyder doesn't mention short shadows in this poem, but he nails the sun straight high and blazing part.

Above Pate Valley

By Gary Snyder

We finished clearing the last   
Section of trail by noon,
High on the ridge-side
Two thousand feet above the creek   
Reached the pass, went on
Beyond the white pine groves,   
Granite shoulders, to a small
Green meadow watered by the snow,   
Edged with Aspen—sun
Straight high and blazing
But the air was cool.
Ate a cold fried trout in the   
Trembling shadows. I spied
A glitter, and found a flake
Black volcanic glass—obsidian—
By a flower. Hands and knees   
Pushing the Bear grass, thousands   
Of arrowhead leavings over a   
Hundred yards. Not one good   
Head, just razor flakes
On a hill snowed all but summer,   
A land of fat summer deer,
They came to camp. On their   
Own trails. I followed my own   
Trail here. Picked up the cold-drill,   
Pick, singlejack, and sack
Of dynamite.
Ten thousand years.
Tomorrow's question will be a two parter: "12.    When do the deer rut in your region and when are the young born?" Join us if you can. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.