Embracing the Cold

According to E. C. Pielou, in After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America, the timing is such that we are nearing the end of the current interglacial period, that the earth should be due to enter into its next period of glaciation, that the continental ice sheets are scheduled to return. However, the change that humankind is effecting and will effect upon the climate may break those predictions, dramatically, even tragically. No longer must we consider time periods tens of thousands of years long, rapid climate change is occurring on a scale of centuries and decades. Based upon ice core data, "The baseline CO2 value for interglacials is approximately 290 parts per million. On 9th May 2013 the concentration of atmospheric CO2 exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time since the balmy conditions of the Pliocene when the sea level was more than 20 m higher than today." (quote from The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction by Jamie Woodward)

Strangely serendipitous reading this morning led me to the following passage in The First Wash of Spring by Scottish writer George Mackay Brown, a comment upon on a series of mild winters in the Orkney Islands in January of 1993. "Let's hope it's only laziness or indifference, up there with the snow giants in North Greenland or Spitzbergen, and not something more sinister, like global warming or the greenhouse effect, that's pared their teeth or their claws, or curbed their ferocious gleefulness. For, however we dislike snow and blizzards, to be walking mouth deep in a tepid ever-rising sea is too hideous to think about."

This morning the temperature was -7 degrees F, nine degrees below average for this date. Granted the temperature on any given day doesn't mean much in the greater scheme of things, but it does cross my mind, during truly cold weather, that these cold days may become rarer, that I should embrace the cold and enjoy it while it lasts. An odd sentiment, to view these below zero days as a special occasion or gift, but I give it a go and bundle up—long underwear, snow pants, wool hat, layers, and heavy winter boots—for a midwinter hike at the local Arboretum. It's colder than yesterday's hike. Mallards huddle in what little open water remains. Wisps of frozen white vapor drift around them and above them. I follow a faint set of mink tracks to the entrance of a hole among the roots of a stream-side tree. I study the same large bird tracks I studied yesterday, either Bald Eagle or a Heron that didn't make it south. The sun drops below the horizon and snow turns blue before I leave. More than anything, I'm happy I didn't stay inside.

Publicado por scottking scottking, 06 de janeiro de 2017, 05:28 AM

Observações

Fotos / Sons

What

Maçambari (Sorghastrum nutans)

Observador

scottking

Data

Janeiro 5, 2017 04:37 PM CST

Descrição

Indiangrass
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

What

Pato-Real (Anas platyrhynchos)

Observador

scottking

Data

Janeiro 5, 2017 04:28 PM CST

Descrição

Mallards
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

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