Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas' eve eve eve

On this last weekend day before Christmas, we traveled much of the eastern side of the Twin Cities metro area. The snow this morning made the roads a little slippery on the way into St. Paul, but the snow had stopped and the roads were just wet by midday as we headed to Stillwater. We took highway 94 and then went north on 95. That gave us a chance to see the progress on the new, absolutely essential, river crossing all of 5 miles north of the Interstate 94 crossing. G*d knows we Minnesotans and Wisconsinites(?) can't be expected to travel 10 miles or so out of our way to cross a river, especially a scenic one. I'm sure the new bridge will do nothing but enhance the aesthetics of traveling the St. Croix Valley and will, no doubt, solve all of the traffic problems beautiful downtown Stillwater experiences on a touristy summer day. As some of you know, I'm a recovering planner. When I was a practicing planner, I learned that "more of the same rarely (never?) solves a problem." There are some local traffic engineers and politicians I wish would learn that lesson. Enough snark for now. We're just about guaranteed a white Christmas this year. The forecast calls for about another 4" to 6" of snow by Wednesday (that's Christmas, you know). I bet that several times between now and then, the back yard will look like this.

White Christmas (trees)
 White Christmas (trees)          © harrington
I was pleased to see that the Strib's story about four state parks to check out in the Winter included Wild River. I was even more pleased to see that Wild River trails are not for snowmobiles. I realize that snowmobiles have their place and that lots of folks take pleasure from trail riding. I just happen to think that the place for snowmobilers to have fun isn't everyplace. My enjoyment of Winter peace and quiet and being able to hear the soft hissing of falling snow is readily spoiled by the roar or snarl or whatever of an internal combustion engine. If we allow snowmobiles everywhere, the next thing you know we'll be ignoring Wild and Scenic River regulations and putting an additional bridge a hop skip and short snowmobile ride upstream of an existing bridge. What kind of sense would that make? About as much sense as seeing a pileated woodpecker at your Winter feeding station. S/he showed up a few times last Winter. I'm hoping for a repeat performance this year unless it takes a blizzard to force his/her return.

pileated woodpecker
pileated woodpecker © harrington

Blizzard

By William Carlos Williams 

Snow:
years of anger following
hours that float idly down —
the blizzard
drifts its weight
deeper and deeper for three days
or sixty years, eh? Then
the sun! a clutter of
yellow and blue flakes —
Hairy looking trees stand out
in long alleys
over a wild solitude.
The man turns and there —
his solitary track stretched out
upon the world. 

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