Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Previews of coming attractions

Happy World Wetlands Day and Groundhog Day! Lack of a shadow for Phil may be the only good thing about this extended run of cloudy weather we've been having. Wetlands, on the other hand, are where I've often had lots of fun, especially back East in the salt marshes. One of the few times in my life that I've actually sunk a boat was in the salt marshes of the South River in Marshfield, Massachusetts. I had been scouting for the upcoming duck season and tried launching my canoe, with me in it, off the top of a mud bank. Let's just say it didn't go well and I never tried it again, although I still have that same canoe. Unfortunately, when it comes to salt marshes, Minnesota has precious few (actually -- none), but it does have more than a few other types of wetlands that haven't yet been drained.

leaves emerging on dog wood branches
leaves emerging on dog wood branches
Photo by J. Harrington

Depending on how much snow we get today and tomorrow, I may or may not be in/on some frozen wetlands in the very near to near future. It's getting to be time to collect a few dogwood branches and maybe some pussy willows to help welcome the pending arrival of Spring. I thoroughly enjoy watching the leaf buds open and leaves emerge despite the fact that such a display really rushes the season and depends on a warm house for its existence.

Since I started this posting, the snow has arrived and is now approaching white-out conditions. I'm going to adjust the dogs' schedule today and walk and feed them before we have to do it in a full-fledged blizzard. Meanwhile, I'll keep thinking warmer thoughts of Spring. I don't want to disappoint Phil.


By Anna Akhmatova
Translated By Jennifer Reeser
...and a decrepit handful of trees.
—Aleksandr Pushkin

And I matured in peace born of command,
in the nursery of the infant century,
and the voice of man was never dear to me,
but the breeze’s voice—that I could understand.
The burdock and the nettle I preferred,
but best of all the silver willow tree.
Its weeping limbs fanned my unrest with dreams;
it lived here all my life, obligingly.
I have outlived it now, and with surprise.
There stands the stump; with foreign voices other
willows converse, beneath our, beneath those skies,
and I am hushed, as if I’d lost a brother.

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