Friday, May 13, 2016

#phenology -- Cold front (and back and sides)

About a month or so ago, we started to think about putting away the flannel-lined jeans. We wrote that we knew better and, once again, Minnesota's Spring weather has proven us right. Current temperature is in the mid-40s with a noteworthy breeze. Our "average" temperature at this time of year should be 25 or 30 degrees F warmer. The basic trouble is that our "average" of 70F is comprised of equal numbers of days when it's >90F and <50F. The forecasts warn of frost and freezing tonight and tomorrow night. In Minnesota, we should be pushing for a very tall wall along the Canadian border to keep out migrant cold fronts.

a cold-hardy, native angler
a cold-hardy, native angler
Photo by J. Harrington

We'll cover up the newly planted flowers and bushes, all the while wondering how "naturalized" plants have managed to adapt to such widely and wildly varying temperature ranges. I have a general idea about natural selection, but wonder how it is that our local oaks and maples have become hardy and whether lilacs and forsythia will ever adapt or, have they already? I suppose, in light of global warming, my concerns should go more in the other direction, hardiness toward drought and heat, but this is Minnesota, a locale governed by the prospect of frostbite, more than fishbite, on a mid-May fishing opener. At least this year, unlike others, there's no question of ice cover at opener for our northern lakes, unless we count the ice than may cover slow-moving anglers as they slowly jig and troll for walleyes. I fish to enjoy nature, not to dominate her, and certainly not because we need the fish for subsistence. Trout often feed more in warmer, sunnier weather as the insects on which they feed become more active. Bass became more active, and feed more, as water temperatures climb. Walleye anglers may have discovered that a chronic shiver enhances their jigging technique. I'll be snuggled under the covers, waiting for weather that better matches my own hardiness zone so I can enjoy playing with trout in cold water (but warm air) and bass when it's warm all over. We'll let this fishing-opener cold front pass and keep our plants and our backsides covered and warm.


By A. E. Stallings

The two of them stood in the middle water,
The current slipping away, quick and cold,
The sun slow at his zenith, sweating gold,
Once, in some sullen summer of father and daughter.
Maybe he regretted he had brought her—
She'd rather have been elsewhere, her look told—
Perhaps a year ago, but now too old.
Still, she remembered lessons he had taught her:
To cast towards shadows, where the sunlight fails
And fishes shelter in the undergrowth.
And when the unseen strikes, how all else pales
Beside the bright-dark struggle, the rainbow wroth,
Life and death weighed in the shining scales,
The invisible line pulled taut that links them both.

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