Nature Blog Network

Friday, December 14, 2012

Morning Observations

This morning dawned beautifully...

A thin layer of ice covers the lake this morning, fractal spirals and triangular crystals covering the delicate surface.  The early morning light, almost horizontal, highlights the patterns.  It casts long shadows and pale pastel reflections of the aspen trees across the flat expanse.  Upside down, blurry and elongated, it's an impressionist version of reality painted upon a canvas of ice.  The colors almost glow -- a mirror image of the salmon of the rising sun and the blue of the clear sky, the white of the tree-trunks and the beige of the prairie.

With their swimming-grounds hardened, the lake's surface is free of ducks and geese, but there are smaller birds all around.  A flock of sparrows congregate in the button bush, taking refuge among its protective net of branches and twigs.  They chatter to each other, creating an almost-constant background of warbles and cheeps as I approach.  A few chickadees fly past, and some larger passerine birds, unidentifiable in the distance, perch in the highest branches of the aspens across the water.  There is plenty of life even in the still of the season of dormancy, death and sleep.

Frost crystals color the grass and the dried prairie plants white... although half-way through December, we've yet to see any actual snow.  The early morning air is crisp in my lungs... It almost burns with cold as I inhale deeply, but already I can feel the warmth of the sun's rays on my face and the promise of another unseasonably warm day.  We've already made a snow-drought record this year... I wonder when (if?) we'll get a snowcover...

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