Tuesday, November 1, 2016

North Country? November? #phenology

While walking one of the dogs, we scattered several grasshoppers. Not as many as in August, but neither was it just one or two. As I was telling myself how weird I thought it was to be seeing grasshoppers and enjoying temperatures crowding 60F, the dog startled back from the edge of the road. I stepped closer to see what that was about and watched a medium to small snake, species undetermined because of the grass cover, slither away. (I think snakes would need to grow back their legs to be able to scurry, right?)

A November grasshopper, one of several
A November grasshopper, one of several
Photo by J. Harrington

Several weeks ago I speculated that we'll probably pay for this extended spell of warm weather. Now, as it continues, I could start to get really nervous but I've decided "the hell with it." I'm going to relax and enjoy this aberration because in a decade or two it won't be an aberration and there'll be lots of other ways we'll be paying for the way we've trashed the climate. Unless, of course, we all agree to change our ways and start functioning within the limits of the earth's systems. I figure I'm more likely to encounter, while I'm walking a dog, some of the souls wandering around at this time of year than to see that happen. We behave too much like grasshoppers rather than ants, although, according to the Shaolin, even some grasshoppers learn well.

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

By John Keats

The Poetry of earth is never dead:    
  When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,    
  And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run    
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;    
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead      
  In summer luxury,—he has never done    
  With his delights; for when tired out with fun    
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.    
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:    
  On a lone winter evening, when the frost     
    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills    
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,    
  And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,    
    The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

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