Nature Notes

Quiet Morning Stroll

By Boak Wiesner

‘Mackerel sky, not twenty-four hours dry’ goes the old saying so as I’m seeing these particular kinds of clouds, I’m reminded that the weatherman is predicting a big snowfall tomorrow. I wonder how accurate the old saw really is? We’ll see.

DSC_0283I sense an expectancy in the air that’s palpable, that the coming of winter in a real was is imminent. As I ramble through the woods in the west side, I see evidence of changes, both long and short-term which gets me to thinking about how to experience nature is, essentially, to observe change.

For example, these rocks at the base of the oak. These are not chunks of the bedrock around here, light-colored Jordan sandstone and the St. Lawrence Formation. So where did these come from? From the dark mafic rock up north. How did they get here? They were transported by glaciers. Well, that’s a pretty big change, if you ask me, to have had a mile of ice right here over my head and now, just the material it deposited underfoot. Quiet morning strolls let my mind work the while on the bigger things

DSC_0295Is there any better evidence of the rapidity of change in the forest than a fallen tree? Though the hundred years it grew might seem long to us, in the greater scheme of thing, trees growing from nuts, reaching their branches skyward, producing seeds themselves, then falling victim to insects and winds, those trees last a really short time. The opening left here will allow new trees to spring up and continue the climax community that became established a long time ago.

DSC_0313I caught nearly the very moment that the ice formed on the little kettle lake. Where the water shows a bit of current, the movement has not allowed ice to form just yet. Soon, though, those of us who have been through these changes called the seasons know that this pond and all the bodies of water around here will be covered by ice. That ice helps slow down the change in the water underneath. But that’s a story for next time.

DSC_0319Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist Volunteer

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