After half a foot of sticky, soggy snowfall overnight, today the temperature at Balsamea rose well above freezing. Along our trails, rapidly thawing snow showered from the trees everywhere in these dense woods, especially from the pines and firs, those bearers of great snow-loads.
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It fell in droplets, spoonfuls, cupfuls, bucketfuls and barrowfuls. The still, windless air said nothing while each of these sizes played their particular sounds, all around me patting, drumming, shushing and thumping their way through tree limbs, branches, twigs and evergreen boughs, then concluding each phrase with a strike on the snow on the ground. They formed an unusual percussive symphony unique to this particular circumstance, in a special variation playing upon atypical conditions in the fresh snow cover.
When or where can you hear nature using trees and snow as instruments to drench the still air in sound this way, with a variety of visual effects, too? When do you get to sit in the middle of the orchestra as it plays? It filled the air within a great dome surrounding me, simultaneously at every volume possible to my ears. Some notes played a few feet from me, ranging out to ones played barely within hearing. Some struck funny notes on my ball cap and shoulders. Continue reading →
Several species and forms of Balsamean herald the advent of Spring earlier than all others. They remind us of the unmerited gift of the life we have at Balsamea, and to live it consciously. Continue reading →
When in doubt, have a campfire. It has straightened my bent condition many times.
Yours truly tending a winter campfire at Balsamea in 2005
My favorite passage from the 1908 short story, To Build a Fire by Jack London (1876-1916):
“Working carefully from a small beginning, he soon had a roaring fire, over which he thawed the ice from his face and in the protection of which he ate his biscuits. For the moment the cold of space was outwitted. The dog took satisfaction in the fire, stretching out close enough for warmth and far enough away to escape being singed. When the man was finished, he filled his pipe and took his comfortable time over a smoke. Then he pulled on his mittens, settled the ear flaps of his cap firmly about his ears, and took the creek trail up the left fork.” Continue reading →
Originally I intended to let the snowshoe path pictures in my previous blog post speak for themselves. Today, Pyrrhite’s comment on that post got me wondering about what makes Balsamea’s snowshoe paths so attractive to me that I popped off more than 200 snapshots hoping to get lucky in the handful I found worth posting here.
In pithy Pyrrhite style, I read, “I love snowshoe trails. Nothing much is quite as compelling.” Why are they so compelling? Okay, Py, you pulled the cord to muse up a scribblement. Let’s see if I have the gas to shoot through it quickly, because I am supposed to be doing something else. I may be a scribblement addict, and you an enabler.
These photos from March 26, 2013 are samples of Balsamea’s snowshoeing paths just before the big thaw. This is a taste of the blessing of Balsamea that Buddy and I walk through three times every day, all year, in all weather, day and night, without fail.
In many places the snow is still as much as 18 inches deep (hole to the left), placing the floor of the path (right) at about one foot above the ground. That is very densely packed snow, from months of accumulations and walking on it. Usually it begins turning to treacherous ice this time of year, and I rely on strap-on ice cleats. So far icing has not happened. It seems we will have a short ice spell, if any.
If my Uncle Jimmy were here, he would say, “Eat your heart out.”
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20130223. A nice date brought to you by 0, 1, 2 and 3.
Congratulations to all of today’s newborns.
WARNING: This blog is for my entertainment more than yours, including the parts that you contribute. Apparent indications to the contrary should be viewed another way.
NOTICE: You are reading the blog of The Conqueror of the West-Northwest Wind.
I enjoy clearing snow, but not when it is solely to remove drifts, without the benefits of fresh, significant snowfall. In this context, the Balsamea Dictionary 8th Edition defines “significant” as at least four inches of snow within twelve hours, preferably at least once per week from Pearl Harbor Day to Saint Patrick’s Day.
Lately we’ve had more snow accumulation by drifting than falling. It is an annoying pattern where one or two inches of snowfall gives you up to a foot of drifted accumulation in all the wrong places, and it keeps happening for a stretch of contiguous days, including days when there is no snowFALL, just snowBLOW.