Monday, December 24, 2012

merry christmas to all, and to all, a good night.

Sorry for the radio silence. At first my absence here was due to mostly gray days, combined with no longer working from home, and consequently not having as much free time during daylight hours to head out with the camera. Think of the frog in the pot of water slowly heating up – my need for feet-on-the-earth time crept up gradually, but insistently. By the time I had the opportunity to head out and stay out, it was the solstice.

I don’t know about where you are, but here in southern Vermont, winter solstice is not usually heralded by a cold rain. I stood in our empty fire pit, faced east, and raised my arms up to the rain. I’ll take it. I’ll witness this. I’m here. Lay it on me. Climate change is upon us, it’s been upon us for years, but only just now, I think, are we all collectively realizing it, as a society. This was a week after the horrific events in Connecticut. Am I doing enough, as a member of Homo sapiens, to live in harmony with all my neighbors – not just my human neighbors, but all my neighbors?

From the fire pit, I made the rounds of our little corner of the world, up into the woods. It rained on again, off again. I was glad I hadn’t brought the cameras. It felt good to connect. Which may sound odd, given that I was alone. But that is how I connect sometimes. Through my feet. Through the roots of things. To the roots of other things, to other places and their roots, to the roots of other people.

I got outside again the day after that, and explored some nearby meadows and streams.  The question was, where does this stream drain? I figured that out. And then yesterday I went XC skiing with a friend on an unmaintained forestry road some 20 miles from here. Or rather, she skiied. I walked. Oddly enough, skiing works better when you bring the poles. I could have skiied without poles. But leaving the boots behind as well – that clinched the deal. Walking it is, then. Ooops.

Today, I went to visit the feral bathtub out in the meadow. I brought the camera.

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I believe, given time, I could teach myself fluid dynamics based solely on the study of frozen ripple patterns in the surface ice of the beaver pond’s margins. Above, we see the elusive ice fish (head’s to the right).

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And here, a stampeding herd of ice ungulates. Duh, right?

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This is all frozen. So lovely. In years past, we’ve had geese in the pond, but the pond’s gone ever since That Bitch Irene knocked the beaver dam out of commission. Not that beavers have minded – they just built another, on a little tributary, and now the stream and the meadow are fighting it out, and our neighbor weighs in by mowing over cattails in his tractor.

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A lot of these ice formations are just where he and his tractor give up, and the water flows freely.

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I believe concentric ripples are caused by the undulating stalks of submerged grass. Caught in waves of freeze thaw, perhaps? Not sure.

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Then there are places where a whole surface shelf lifts off the liquid water underneath.

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A girl could spend all day on this, but the light was fading, and I needed to get out for a run. So I did. And that was grand.


May your Christmas – if that’s how you roll – be sparkling and soothing to your soul, in whatever mixture works best for you. My sweetie and I have plans to cruise through six episodes of “Game of Thrones” over the coming evenings. He has an amazing present waiting for him. Mmm, yum, that’s going to be fun.

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