Sunday, November 28, 2021

Winter is Coming

Meteorological winter starts this week on December 1. Astronomical winter will follow shortly at the solstice, which is on December 21st this year.

The solstice is the moment when the earth’s axis is at maximum tilt relative to the sun; it and can vary by a few days from year to year. That’s why there are two ways to note the beginning of winter. Meteorologists need fixed dates to make comparisons — a neat December, January, and February. Either way you measure it, it is time to get your warm clothes on and enjoy. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Here's a thought about solstices from Gary Kukav, spiritualist and author: 

"Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself. At the summer solstice all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvas of awareness. At the winter solstice the wind is cold, trees are bare and all lies in stillness beneath blankets of snow."

Snow is also coming soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Last Flashy Insect of the Year?


Here's a hearty little red November dragonfly. I have seen a few of them recently and I am guessing they will be the last big insects outdoors around here until next spring. Click to enlarge.

It's an autumn meadowhawk dragonfly. They are not unheard of in November in New Jersey though they are more common when the weather is warmer.

I think late-migrating insect-eating birds will be glad to see them.

A haiku poem written in the early 1800s by the poet Kobayashi Issa:  

departing for the festival

all  in red


Sunday, November 14, 2021

Gray Mantis


A mantis, though small, has an imposing presence. They always look to me ike they might be up to something. And I'm pretty sure they always see me long before I see them. Consider the dramatic pose on this one I came across when I stopped to rest in a park gazebo. It is sitting in the center of an octagon, casting a black shadow, and seems to be pointing prophetically to 9 o'clock. It could be the opening scene from a movie called The Mantis Pointed to Nine. Click to enlarge.

Fast forward. Nothing happened at nine. It's just a Carolina Mantis. Native. Beneficial. This is its gray form (they also come in green and brown) the better to blend in with old wood while watching you.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Daylight Saving


Daylight Savings Time ended this morning and we are deep into autumn. My clocks all say it's an  hour earlier than it feels. That combined with the spin of the seasons will result in a sunset at 4:50 p.m. today. I'm preparing myself mentally for long nights and what my friend SpongeBob SquarePants calls advanced darkness.