Wednesday, February 11, 2009

So Much More is Going on Than Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

I have wanted an Ecological Calendar ever since I found out about it several years ago. I finally purchased one (it was only $14.99 for heaven's sake) and it arrived last week. If you've never seen it before, I urge you to click on the link and take a look. It is "the first" calendar to display the year in four astronomical seasons. It is a calendar from the Earth's perspective, if you will. Along with listing the traditional Gregorian days and dates, it offers up a poetic contemplation/celebration of natural phenomena in three-month increments. As I return to it over the days and weeks, I learn new things about my world and I am moved to meditate on the Earth. What's she doing now?

The website offers a peek at the Winter panel which begins on December 21 with the Winter Solstice. All of the months have names that suggest their mood: January, February, and March are called Celeste, Sleet, and Bluster respectively. The days, too, have names in addition to Monday, Tuesday, etc. Today, February 11, is called Mountain Quail. I'm not exactly sure why, unless it is simply to bring my attention to the fact that Mountain Quail exist in my hemisphere. They've come up with 365 names, one for each day, which after all is only a small sampling of the diversity of living things and phenomena that exist on our planet.

Today doesn't feel like winter--it is 63 degrees! It feels like a raw spring day out there. It feels like Bluster. I know that it is only a tease, though, and I'm keeping my enthusiasm in check lest I come into despair when it snows next. The ground is squishy with water. The water sits on top of the saturated earth in shiny puddles. This afternoon, I put on my brand new LL Bean boots, the ones I broke down and spent the money on after the rubber toe on my cheaper duck boots split like a rotten melon, and took a walk through those puddles and all the mud slicks that are waiting for grass seed. I wanted to photograph the spoils of the winter storm we had two weeks ago.

A big maple tree near the edge of the woods split in two and fell--this way and that:

It is sad to see a tree that size succumb to the elements, especially since our woods doesn't have that many big trees in it. I am not sure about the age of our woods. I want to say that it has been growing for forty years, but that is a guess, or a number remembered from a casual conversation with the previous owners.

One of the things that concerns me about some of the maple trees in our woods is that their trunks look like this:

Like they are soaking wet, but it isn't raining. In the summer, they look drier, as if they were charred in a fire. I assumed it was fungal, but a search on the Web suggests that it might be a "bacterial wetwood infection." Sounds dire, and it is. There is no cure for it.

Well, at least the tree will help keep us warm next winter. John (with help from Jack--get ready Jack!) will cut it up for firewood. The pieces that are too large or too small will rot back into the ground, with help from gorgeous decomposers like these already at work:

And those leftovers will nourish the saplings nearby.

I am at my best, I feel, when one thing is changing into another. And so, I am happy now, as Sleet turns to Bluster, as the moon begins to wane after a spectacular fullness, as the ground swells with moisture, as fallen trees lie in wait. Time is circular after all. Round and round we go.


Alice said...

beautiful, beautiful post ... and lovely to see seasons changing all over the world ...

mamawhatthe said...

Now Meg, posts like this are why I have missed reading your blog so very much. It's like reading chocolate! And I love the pics, especially the fungus (?). Wonderful!

*~tabby~* crooked heart art said...

hi meg
i just came across your blog
ahh its a beauty-i am a country girl~ well as a child~and in my heart
i miss the beauty of it badly
many thanks for sharing your little corner of the world
you brighten my day:)
enjoy your day

Meg said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks so much for the comments.

Maggie! I can't believe you're back! I'm going to read your blog right this minute.

Tabby--your blog is gorgeous! Thanks so much for visiting me. I love your artwork and photographs.