Sunday, January 3, 2010
Oh Happy Snowy Day!
Why is this woman smiling? Well, just look at the snow all over her head. Is that not the most perfect snow imaginable? Soft and light and fluffy and dry, each flake like a tiny star (Click on the photo to see them better). That's the way it came down today, thick and fast, and I just had to get out and delight in it. Yes, that's me in the photo.
Since I got a late start (and the roads were pretty iffy), I chose a place close to my home: the Bog Meadow Nature Trail just east of Saratoga Springs. By now, all the marshes along the trail are solidly frozen, so I could walk places I can't in the summer. Like this pond that is ringed with Phragmites, each tuft bonneted with soft snow.
I visit this trail often in spring, summer, and fall, keeping a record of all the flowers I find here. This time of year, it's fun to try to recognize my old friends after they've gone to seed and are covered with snow. I found Meadowsweet, Blue Vervain, Indian Pipe, Swamp Thistle, Swamp Milkweed, many, many others. But I just could not place this fluffy tuft on straight sturdy stems, and I did not want to take it apart to analyze it, since it looked so pretty capped with downy snow. Update 1/31: I'll bet this plant is Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana).
Lichens always look the same, winter or summer, and I certainly recognized the large green one in the middle of this photo as Common Greenshield (Flavoparmelia caperata). But what about the silvery, leafy lichens all around it? Are they just a variation of Greenshield, or something entirely different? I couldn't find any exact look-alikes in my lichen book. The closest was maybe Bottlebrush Shield Lichen (Parmelia squarrosa). Any other opinions?
Hey look, here's another woman smiling! And why shouldn't she? Just look at all that lovely snow around her. And see how pretty her red jacket looks against all that white.