Saturday, March 11, 2017

Phenology, approaching vernal

Much of what happens as I follow my Twitter TimeLine is that I get agitated and aggrvated, particularly by the goings-on in Washington, D.C. and St. Paul. Every once in a while, though, something shows up that makes it worthwhile to keep my account. This morning was one of those times. As I said to the Better Half when I showed it to her "this is what I'd do if I were as good as I'd like to be." Take a look at Vernal Pools: Life in ephemeral ponds of the Eastern United States to share some inspiration and enjoyment of what our Vernal Equinox [March 20] and the following season usually brings. At the moment, in our neighborhood, any vernal pools are either nonexistent or frozen, which then makes them nonexistent as pools, I suppose.

late Spring, vernal pool
late Spring, vernal pool
Photo by J. Harrington

Much as I enjoy traipsing (slogging?) through wetlands, I've seen very few salamanders in real life, and photographed even fewer, actually, none, nor have I turned over many rocks in a trout stream to discover nymphs crawling across the bottom side. Each of those deficiencies leaves me with a bucket list goal to achieve this year, once our melting becomes permanent instead of intermittent. A week or so ago our temperatures were in the mid- to upper-fifties and I was writing about "false Spring." This week we have highs below freezing and overnight lows in the single digits or negative numbers. Since we're in the period between the start of meteorological and astronomical Spring, these really cold temperatures represent another kind of false Spring, don't they?

eastern sky, March full moonrise
eastern sky, March full moonrise
Photo by J. Harrington

Have you noticed what I think is Venus shining bright in the western sky the past few evenings? How about the moon as it approaches tomorrow night's fullness? If you put on a coat, step outside after dark, and you're lucky enough, you might get to see cranes, swans or geese migrating across the moon as they head North looking for open water and nesting sites near vernal pools.

The Origin

of what happened is not in language—
of this much I am certain.
Six degrees south, six east—

and you have it: the bird
with the blue feathers, the brown bird—
same white breasts, same scaly 

ankles. The waves between us—
house light and transform motion
into the harboring of sounds in language.—

Where there is newsprint
the fact of desire is turned from again—
and again. Just the sense

that what remains might well be held up—
later, as an ending.
Twice I have walked through this life—

once for nothing, once
for facts: fairy-shrimp in the vernal pool—
glassy-winged sharp-shooter

on the failing vines. Count me—
among the animals, their small 
committed calls.—

Count me among
the living. My greatest desire—
to exist in a physical world.

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