New Year’s Day, PHOTOS: First morning, a walk in the wild

Apparently, I’m in tune with three other old women, all of whom were walking our dogs at Griffy Lake early on this New Year’s Day morning! No pictures of them, unfortunately, but Shadow and I did pause for our first selfie.

This was after his running start uphill with morning sun peaking through bare branches.

Then, of course, he ran off again, but with pauses to sniff. How much fuller is his olfactory perception of the world than mine! Jealous.

We headed uphill, then traversed the path east on the ridge, then down again, to the stream,

which, I presume you’ve noticed, illustrates nature’s tendency towards serpentine movement.

I remember the moment when I first realized that Nature does not use either straight lines or right angles. Linearity and cross-purposes are both foreign to her. Nor does she march in step, or insist one way is the only way, or make sure everything is the same as everything else. Instead, she weaves, she tangles,

she suddenly shoots out in unexpected ways, she combines, she completes, goes dormant, works underground as much as above, starts over again, and again again. May we learn from her to be resilient!

Oh, yes, and she sometimes carves out a new curve for a stream like this one, via dams or bridges or bridges that end up as dams, in the following case starting with one stump that got jolted by a falling tree, their combination then catching tree detritus that flowed — or hurtled — downstream from hard rains above, to the point where that stream just had to push out, away from where it had been. Here are two views of this phenomenon, from the south, and from the north.

I remember watching the course of the Gros Ventre river near Kelly Wyoming during spring runoff alter in this way. Only that time, instead of a dam/bridge, an old floating tree got stuck on something, then gathered not only other tree detritus but gravel and stones, to create a new island! — that pushed the river’s edge out in both directions.

After awhile, the riverside path that we had taken for years abruptly dropped out, as the streamside caved in to absorb the massive flow. Only 30 feet away, we could see the path where it started up again! So near and yet so far.

Nature continues to change, and we, if we are wise, learn to change with her.

On all levels, despite what appear to be constant cycles, like the annual new year’s beginning — the one that actually started with Winter Solstice, but that we tend to ignore in lieu of an old edict that decreed the new year to begin January 1, today — Nature changes. Heraclitus was right. We cannot step into the same river twice.

Solstice (December 21) or New Year (January 1)? The new beginning signified by the cyclic relationship between Earth and Sun? — or the cultural overlay upon it? Which anniversary shall we “observe”? To which shall we choose to give allegiance? That, by the way, is for me a serious question.

Green Acres podmate Rebecca, an organic gardener for over 40 years, tells me that she has long noticed how seedlings, which she plants in early December, don’t obviously start growing until immediately after the Solstice!

“Plantary” life precisely attuning to the cycles of planetary life . . .

Except for moss, which stays green all year long. What’s that about?

Oh yes, and BTW, streams and rivers are also helped along in their changes by beavers. Here’s a tree where, I swear, beavers must have been hard at work years ago.

If so, ye gods those “busy beavers” were ambitious! This tree!

Maybe they finally decided it was just too much work to fell it? Or did too many trail walkers begin to disrupt their way of life? I see absolutely no sign anywhere in this little stream valley of old beaver lodges now.

On our way back to the car I take a few pics of where the stream converges into the swampy end of Griffy Lake. BTW: if there are animal serpents (snakes) in this wonderfully wild land so close to Bloomington, I imagine them hanging out here.

And here’s the lake itself.


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