Monday, October 3, 2016

Everything's headed South? #phenology

Days are getting shorter. The sun is heading South. Today we saw the first local corn being harvested. Some fields that were soy beans last week are now about as bald as pool tables. (I'm curious to see if the heavy rains in the forecast for later this week cause any noticeable erosion.) Tomorrow's high temperature is expected to top out at 71F. The next time we see a high of 70+ will be ... next Spring, or if any of us take a trip far South or West of Minnesota?

Loons? Mergansers? Both?
Loons? Mergansers? Both?
Photo by J. Harrington

When we were in the North Country last week, we saw what at first glance looked like a flock of seven to nine loons on the lake. A short while later, the loons were still in the water, but a handful of "loons" turned out to be mergansers sitting on shoreline rocks while the loons stayed afloat. I've not hear of mergansers and loons flocking together so maybe what we saw was a very loose association, rather than a real flock. Could it be that the birds were practicing for Trick or Treat? Maybe they were all mergansers? Your thoughts?

Loons? Mergansers? Both?
Loons? Mergansers? Both?
Photo by J. Harrington

Although we finally saw a moose while staying near the Gunflint Trail, we might have been able to save travel time and stayed in way south of the Gunflint, in Duluth. A bull moose was observed in Lester Park recently, but that lacks the cache of seeing one one a gravel road.

Last, but not least for today, after spending the morning in the dentist chair, I'm headed South myself, toward nap country.

Ravens Hiding in a Shoe


By Robert Bly


There is something men and women living in houses
Don’t understand. The old alchemists standing
Near their stoves hinted at it a thousand times.

Ravens at night hide in an old woman’s shoe.
A four-year-old speaks some ancient language.
We have lived our own death a thousand times.

Each sentence we speak to friends means the opposite
As well. Each time we say, “I trust in God,” it means
God has already abandoned us a thousand times.

Mothers again and again have knelt in church
In wartime asking God to protect their sons,
And their prayers were refused a thousand times.

The baby loon follows the mother’s sleek
Body for months. By the end of summer, she
Has dipped her head into Rainy Lake a thousand times.

Robert, you’ve wasted so much of your life
Sitting indoors to write poems. Would you
Do that again? I would, a thousand times.


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