Monday, November 25, 2013

Signs of the season(s)

Today, while skimming one of my favorite phenology books, Jim Gilbert's Nature Notebook, I was reminded that lakes don't freeze over until all of the water has cooled to 39 degrees. This explains why the smaller lakes and ponds freeze first. It also means that it's the volume of water (surface area X depth) that needs to be accounted for, not just the depth or the size. So the wide but shallow Carlos Avery pools are now frozen. As of Saturday, the larger local lakes appeared to still be open, due to their depth and surface area.

open water at Carlos Avery
Carlos Avery pools           © harrington
Other signs of the season are showing up. Christmas wreaths and other decorations are for sale at several local big box garden centers. Poinsettias have made it all the way home and are now gracing the top of the piano and the corner of the desk on which this is being written. On Sunday, those who put up Christmas lights (and do most of the leaf raking and removal) received dispensation to do the lights, even though it's not yet Thanksgiving. They want to be sure for the opportunity to complete the seasonal task without benefit of snow on the ground or in the air. The results are simple but effective and attractive to my eyes. Some seem to prefer turning Christmas lights into a carnival display. We prefer a more basic approach such as the one below.

Christmas lights, greenery and oak leaves
Christmas lights, greenery and oak leaves     © harrington
We'll see if we can find a better time when it's darker and the lights show better. This picture shows most of the lights and lets you see the futility of trying to clear leaves when surrounded by oak trees. The driveway was essentially clear two days or so prior to taking this picture. Lyn Hejinian may have had this time of year in mind while writing this:

from constant change figures

By Lyn Hejinian 

constant change figures
the time we sense
passing on its effect
surpassing things we've known before
since memory
of many things is called
experience
but what of what
we call nature's picture
surpassing things we call
since memory
we call nature's picture
surpassing things we've known before
constant change figures
experience
passing on its effect
but what of what
constant change figures
since memory
of many things is called
the time we sense
called nature's picture
but what of what
in the time we sense
surpassing things we've known before
passing on its effect
is experience

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