By Boak Wiesner
It’s certainly been a week of transitions here in the Arb. I poked around Spring Peeper Meadow just before the solstice. Wow, the sun is low on the horizon! I’m tempted to yell to drive away the darkness of the season – which is where “Yule” comes from. The question is: does a Nature Notes writer alone, yelling in the forest make a sound?
The colors of the marsh in late fall are of a subtle yet almost sublime quality. One need only to linger a moment or two to appreciate their muted essence. Gone are the glories of October and yet to come are the stark contrasts of early winter.
I’m lucky enough to come back less than a week later. The first real snow has finally fallen, here just after the Solstice, that eyeblink when the Earth’s tilt points us here in the Northern Hemisphere the greatest angle away from the sun. The snow lets me follow many animals’ treks around the Arb with their tracks. A mink hopped along the boardwalk, maybe after a squirrel.
Ah, the gleam of red that Dogwood provides the eye in the otherwise drab December landscape, Aldo Leopold’s “pink”. You know how you can tell it’s a Dogwood, right? (Wait for it…) By its bark! (I’ll be here all week, folks!)
Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist Volunteer