Monday, March 24, 2014

Cold Weather Contemplation

Equipping for cold weather contemplation: camera, long johns, street clothes, ski pants, insulated boots, down jacket, hat and gloves.

It was up to the twenties by the time I set out late this morning for the Wild Place I discovered not too long ago.  That might not sound cold for a tough, genuine outdoorsman like me, but one thing I've learned: if you want to be comfortable in cold weather over the long haul, you want to over-dress.  You don't want a walk in the woods curtailed by discomfort, and you don't want to find that you need always to be moving to stay warm. 

The opportunity arose to visit the new wild place this morning: I was free on a weekday morning, when there would be fewer homeowners to be suspicious of me.  I decided on a whim that I would spend less time exploring than contemplating, so once I came to the rocks that form a sort of focal point in the southern woods, I settled down, back against a rock, and just watched and listened.  --Oh, and I ran my camera, too.

Twelve minutes in which nothing happens.  Now THAT'S contemplation!

Three-and-a-half minutes in which almost nothing happens.  (And I'm not in the way.)

Seven-and-a-half minutes of white pine needles moving in the wind.

In watching white pines in the wind, I had a thought: I wonder how much of an evolutionary influence on the needle leaf form wind has been.  It seems to me that needles handle wind better than broad leaves partly because the wind produces very little twisting force on them.

Three minutes of beech leaves rattling in the wind.

Beats watching paint dry!

Of course, you can't record contemplation, only its conditions and its results.

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