Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Will climate change increase Minnesota's Spring volatility?

We are less than a week from the beginning of meteorological Spring. Goldfinches are starting to brighten up. There's been a report of swans in the neighborhood, but it's unclear if they're migrants or strays from one of the flocks that overwinters on the lower St. Croix. Snow cover is shrinking from the northern edges of the fields. Gravel roads are turning to mud. Unfortunately, the compacted snow that's covered the driveway all Winter now makes it ice-covered since it gets no exposure to the sun during our freeze-thaw season. Maybe if we get to 50 or so on Saturday it'll be safe to walk as well as drive on.

2014 pre-Easter junco visit
2014 pre-Easter junco visit
Photo by J. Harrington

A flock of dark-eyed juncos moved through the woods in front of the house yesterday. I assume they're headed north. Sandhill cranes recently have been reported in southern Wisconsin and Illinois. I expect some around here by mid-March unless Winter returns with a vengeance and stays awhile. Meanwhile, despite the growing levels of activity, the weather continues its dreary, gray plodding around here. Better that than the extreme weather excitement the southeastern states have experienced this week.

I think I've previously made it clear that I'm a fan of Edward Abbey's writing. I believe I would probably have like the man if I'd ever met him. At the moment, I'm reading Resist much, obey little, remembering Ed Abbey, a commemorative series of essays by those who knew him, including many of my other hero writers such as Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Sam Hamill, and Terry Tempest Williams. Abbey helps me feel less guilty about some of my less redeeming characteristics and reinforces my wonder at the public's lack of outrage at what we're doing to this country's natural resources and beauty in the name of jobs and convenience. If you've ever read, or even wanted to read, The Monkey Wrench Gang or Desert Solitaire, you'll likely enjoy Resist Much, Obey Little. I happened into my copy while browsing a local, independent book store, confirming my belief that serendipity beats algorithms, whether or not they have long tails. Soon it will be time to focus more on outside activities, but, with my nose buried in a book, the gray skies are less obvious, especially if my imagination is in a desert with Ed.

Shiver & You Have Weather

By Matthea Harvey

In the aftermath of calculus
your toast fell butter-side down.

Squirrels swarmed the lawns
in flight patterns. The hovercraft

helped the waves along. From
every corner there was perspective.

On the billboards the diamonds
were real, in the stores, only zirconia.

I cc’ed you. I let you know.
Sat down to write the Black Ice Memo.

Dinner would be meager &
reminiscent of next week’s lunch.

So what if I sat on the sectional?
As always I was beside myself.


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