Sunlight and Warmth

By Boak Wiesner

A warm day, that I know now was sandwiched between one of knife-like, icy winds and another of light snow, was a gift to us Minnesotans, an appetizer, if you will, of what will, eventually, hopefully, thankfully, come. Real spring.

Up high on the west side, I got a nice view of the lands surrounding the ARb. But I was struck by the clouds, first of all. They were showing the nicest example of the junction of the air temperature and the dew point, above which level the water vapor condenses into clouds. See how they have flat bottoms?

DSC_0093I’m always struck by how fantastic an example the Arb grounds are for the effects of ice and water and the landscape. Those clouds could have thickened into ones dropping snow or rain – both of which have shaped the land, the snow as glaciers and the rain, as running water that has formed rills and channels slicing up the Arb grounds. I found the catkins of willows glowing in the morning sun at the head of of such draw, or is it a hollow (or holler) or cove or ravine – so many names for that steep-sided valley so common around here.

DSC_0105This is the one that leads into the west end of Wood Duck Pond. I’ve been traipsing around this end of the Arb more and more, always finding something new to observe and speculate upon.

DSC_0111Up on the north side, the canopy of trees is so dense that little can grow on the forest floor. I was struck by the openness of the forest in this section. As I headed back to the truck, I heard the first frogs of the season! Western Chorus Frog males singing to attract their sweethearts. I only had to wait a bit until the temperature went up.

DSC_0114Boak Wiesner is a Minnesota Naturalist Volunteer

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