Sunday, March 15, 2020

So Long, Winter!

That's it, Winter!  So long!  Bye bye!  You're outa here! Take off!

Yeah, yeah, I know.  Spring won't be official until next week,  and we could still be walloped with heavy snows, as we have many times in the past.  But guess what?  The ICE is off the water!  And no matter how snowy or cold it may get for a day or two down the road, that ice is gone for good (or at least, until next winter).

Here's the Hudson River today: not even a bit of crust along the edge, nor a shred of a floe careering along on the current.  Free and clear!

And here's Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park, its breeze-swept surface open from shore to shore to reflect the blue of the sky. (Not counting some softening ice that remains in a bay.)

And here's another sure sign of Spring: the wee little lipstick-red, sea-anemone-shaped pistils of the female American Hazelnut flowers (Corylus americana).  Today's bright sunlight was picking out their tiny points of crimson among the bare twigs of the shrubs that line the trail around Mud Pond.

I left my finger in this photo to show how itty-bitty these flowers are.

I was truly surprised to find these female flowers, since hardly any male catkins dangled from neighboring hazelnut shrubs.  And even the few I could find were far from ready to open their scales and waft their pollen on the air toward the females.  Poor girls: flaunting their feminine charms in vain!

I found another interesting organism while poking about in the hazelnuts.  See how this little dead twig is stuck to the larger, living one?  The reddish stuff that has stuck it there is called Glue Crust Fungus (Hymenochaete corrugata), and believe it or not, that fungus has a good reason to do just that. Its strategy is to hoard dead hazelnut twigs for itself, gluing the dead twigs to living ones high in the shrubs, so they won't fall to the ground, where other, rival fungi could compete to consume them. Who could have guessed that a fungus could strategize like this? Sometimes, Nature absolutely astounds me!

And sometimes, too, Nature absolutely heals me!  Still feeling fatigue from a long bout of a supposedly "mild" form of pneumonia, I was grateful to find a fallen log I could rest on while walking around Mud Pond.  I basked in the warmth of the sun, feeling that energy shore up my own, as I delighted in the dazzling sparkles of sunlight dancing on water.  As I breathed in the sweet clear air, I felt it soothing my still-irritated lungs. No wonder they used to bring TB sufferers up to the Adirondacks to find healing from the very air!  I find that very believable on a gorgeous day like today and in a spectacularly beautiful place like this.


threecollie said...

Thanks for a beautiful and interesting post! Our kids all grew up with asthma. We lived down in town next to a truck stop with diesels idling day and night. It was miserable and I spent way too much time in hospital emergency rooms. However, every single year, when we made the climb up the big hills to Peck's Lake they immediately began to breathe easier and so did I. I will miss it this year.

The Furry Gnome said...

Every sign of spring is welcome these days!