Sunday, January 3, 2016

Phenology's New Normal?

For this New Year I'm adopting a more positive outlook [again]. That includes writing focused on about what I'm in favor of rather than what I'm against. It's a challenge. For example, I'm definitely in favor of Santa, who lives at the North Pole. I'm also in favor of warmer weather, generally speaking, rather than Polar Vortices. But then, here come reports that it's been warmer at Santa's North Pole home than in parts of Minnesota where I live. Melting ice in December from warm weather at the North Pole could flood Santa's workshop. See what I mean about the challenge? I'm not in favor of flooding Santa. I think it was my mother, but maybe it was my grandmother, who used to say "There's a time and a place for everything, and this isn't it." (Maybe she learned that from Yogi Berra. It sure sounds like something he'd say.)

January countryside
Photo by J. Harrington

On the bright side, since I've not yet memorized much in the way of phenology, I haven't much to unlearn. On the even brighter side, learning to pay more attention to what's going on around me and finding some basic phenology resources will be helpful as we try to discover whatever comes to pass as a New Normal. For example, here's an Annenberg Foundation Journey North Signs of Spring 2016 Checklist. (We started on last year and then ...) I haven't yet seen anything about climate change affecting the length of days but just about everything else seems up for grabs. Since I've been planning to get back into fly-fishing for trout, reconfirming any relationship between plants in bloom and insects hatching will fit in nicely with phenological observations. In fact, one of the things January often is good for is cleaning and reorganizing equipment. Since I neglected to get trout stamps last year, I'll wait until the new licenses are available in 2016. (By the way, have you messed up any dates on checks or other paperwork yet this year?) No stamp let's me pass on Winter fishing catch and release temptations. While I'm cleaning and organizing gear, I'll feed the mood by listening to what could well be phenology's theme song, as adapted from the bible by the late, great Pete Seeger.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

sung by Pete Seeger and Judy Collins 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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