Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The discontent of our Winter

Call me Pollyanna. (That would be a first.) I'm encouraged by the temperatures in the short term weather forecast and by the fact that, at the end of this month, we will have gained about 2 minutes and 30 seconds worth of additional daylight. I'm not going to put out the lounge chair and start working on my tan just yet, but I bet the dogs and I will have silly grins on Friday if we  do make it to above freezing temperatures. This morning's cold sunrise was a looked strange through the cloud cover. It was also beautiful when seen through the frost-covered storm windows. What do you think?

Frosted sun rise
Frosted sun rise              © harrington

Thinking spring yet? We've already received some seed catalogues. Great Horned Owls are, or soon will be, nesting. Spring is becoming conceivable at the moment, but it was difficult to contemplate this morning and yesterday. This is the kind of weather that made me go and dig out our copy of winter world, the ingenuity of animal survival. Don't be surprised if you find yourself exposed to a few factoids from the book shared here from time to time. Ingenuity, of course, isn't limited to non-human animals. The Fish and Wildlife Service is displaying quite a bit of ingenuity and other creative interpretations of the Endanged Species Act, according to Ron Meador's Earth Journal column in today's MinnPost. I never thought I'd ever find myself in agreement with George Wallace about anything, but his reference to "pointy-headed bureaucrats" may have been on target if USFWS is actually doing what Ron's piece references in the journal articles he cites. Go read it for yourself. My rant here has nothing to do with the substance of whether or not wolves should be listed as endangered. I'm getting increasingly fed up with federal agency staff acting as if they are the law, not just responsible for following it (did anyone say NSA?). Now that I've got that off my chest, let's return to winter, cold and survival. With increasing temperatures, we'll go for a longer walk in the next several days and see if anyone in the neighborhood has been out and about, marking up the snow the way they did last year. We won't, however, look for any of Phillip Morgan's endangered species' tracks.

Tracks covered snow
Tracks covered snow         © harrington

Endangered Species

By Phillip Carroll Morgan 

herds of buffalo
gone now
                       you search the undulating
         sea of grass
near campo and wildhorse
                       for the great hairy horned whales
but none surface

instead
if you look carefully

                        you see the shallow swimming
          hahe issi
the pronghorn
antelope
                     you identify with
          this striped sailfish
skimming the surface
                       a harpoon’s throw away
        from hungry nesters

diving
                     for the cereal great plains
         plankton seed
visible
but fast

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