Wild Nights

By , January 5, 2015

Aly headed south just ahead of our first really severe winter weather of the season. The evening she left, north wind built to a multiday wind storm, bringing clear, cold weather down from the Yukon. Forecasts predicted gusts to 80 knots (92+mph) and sustained winds in the 50-55 knot range (up to 63 mph). I don’t think we’ve had that here, but we must have gotten close.

Daytime highs barely break the 20s. Sea spray freezes on the rocks. Brilliant aurora borealis displays outshine the almost-full moon. These are wild nights!

We have no snow right now, which must be making it hard for the little world. Voles, mice and shrews depend on decent snow cover to create a subnivean world of relative insulation in order to survive the winter. Their predators also face challenges. Beyond finding such small, threatened prey, some predators sport white fur as camouflage to aid their hunt. We’ve delighted to watch an ermine dart around the yard, very visible in his white coat against the brown and gray ground. Michelle calls him “Flash.”

Our marten may have broken in because its normal prey may be scarce (see Perimeter Breach). Incidentally, it appears Michelle’s measures have thwarted it. She stuck a couple of panes of plexiglass in the screen door frame. At first, the Marten slid them aside like French doors, but when Michelle braced them with splints, it couldn’t get in. We awoke one night to the noise of its efforts, which sounded exactly like a visitor rapping on the screen door frame!

This cold snap may be part of the polar vortex that’s expected over the lower 48. They will no doubt see far lower temperatures from it than we will. Still, it’s plenty cold enough for us!

Incidentally, I rearranged the reading schedule I created in 2011 for reading Mary Oliver’s book, Twelve Moons as a lunar calendar so that I can do so again throughout 2015.

I won’t blog about it this year as I did in 2011, nor comment on it further than in this post, particularly noting that the blue moon coming in July kind of caused problems for the schedule.

If you’d like to do the reading as well, email me through the blog or comments, and I’ll send you a copy of the schedule.

At any rate, the current month’s full moon poem, Wolf Moon, perfectly, beautifully describes our current wild nights.

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