Saturday, December 10, 2016

'Sno seasons settling in #phenology

If the weather forecast is accurate, we'll get 3" to 6" of snow tonight and tomorrow. It's cold enough that it should be the light, fluffy kind, no good for making snowballs, but maybe it will fill in some of the washboarding potholes up and down our township gravel road. I never thought that, in my adult years, I'd say this but I'm kind of looking forward to the snow. (Shhh! don't tell anyone I wrote that.)

You may have heard that the national and state political scenes are a mess. Locally, city folks are spatting about who's to pay for a celebratory level of Christmas lights. Until now, even Mother Nature has been Scrooge-like with traditional seasonal weather. But, in a few hours, our area should look like this:

let it snow
let it snow
Photo by J. Harrington

By tomorrow afternoon, or Monday morning, whenever the snow has stopped, the fields and forests around the house will literally look like, and be, a Winter wonderland. If it warms up later in the month, I may try wandering around and see if I can spot any coyote tracks. For the next week or so, our high temperatures (away from political discussions) are forecast to be in single digits. I much prefer temperatures above the teens when my exploring is voluntary.

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland
Photo by J. Harrington

If there were any ruffed grouse around, they'ed be able to roost in the snow drifts. The insulation snow provides keeps the freeze depth from getting too deep in the soil. Off hand, if we add in providing landing strips for Santa's sleigh, I can't recall any other functional benefits to snow cover. What am I missing?

First Snow


                A rabbit has stopped on the gravel driveway:
                           imbibing the silence,
                           you stare at spruce needles:
                                                  there’s no sound of a leaf blower,
                                                  no sign of a black bear;
                a few weeks ago, a buck scraped his rack
                           against an aspen trunk;
                           a carpenter scribed a plank along a curved stone                                                   wall.                 
                                       You only spot the rabbit’s ears and tail:
                when it moves, you locate it against speckled gravel,
                but when it stops, it blends in again;
                           the world of being is like this gravel:
                                      you think you own a car, a house,
                                      this blue-zigzagged shirt, but you just borrow                                                   these things.                 
                Yesterday, you constructed an aqueduct of dreams
                                      and stood at Gibraltar,
                                                             but you possess nothing.
                Snow melts into a pool of clear water;
                           and, in this stillness,
                                       starlight behind daylight wherever you gaze.


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