Monday, March 14, 2016

A foggy idea about phenology

I have, unread as yet, a volume of Carl Sandburg's poems, given to me by The Better Half. It contains one of my favorite poems (see below), one we've noted previously on these pages. Today's fog and mist and general sogginess, and the creeping incrementalism of Spring's northward journey, brought it to mind, along with a metaphor of Spring creeping north on little fog feet.  Migrating birds arrive, rest, refresh. Many move on, some remain.

season's first red-winged blackbird of 2016
season's first red-winged blackbird of 2016
Photo by J. Harrington

season's first sandhill cranes of 2016
season's first sandhill cranes of 2016
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday brought confirmed sightings of red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes, and multitudes of ducks, mostly mallards. The pale gray feathering of the cranes would have been lost against today's clouds and fog, their cries even more haunting. Pussy willows fade into fog as well. The fog and mist seem to act as magical magician's hats from which buds and migrants are daily pulled, to be captured in pictures on days fogless and brighter, as yesterday's photos show. If Winter returns with any vigor, the birds can wing South and renest if needed. Plants have more limited options.

mid-March pussy willows
mid-March pussy willows
Photo by J. Harrington

Fog

By Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


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