Posts Tagged snow

Upcountry, Madison.

Half a foot of fresh powder fell here last night,

my Colorado siblings would say;

unless the goal is to entice skiers up from Denver,

then it’s “nearly two feet, hurry, before it collapses in the sun.”

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On the cusp.

The bulbs push shoots up, invisible until they blow apart.

The lichen population is not impressed by spring stirrings.

Boiling, freezing, drought or flood, they’re good, they’re perpetual.

On the shadow side, north facing, the last snow patch lingers.

The branch roars, swollen from the recent rain and the recent snow.

Passing cataracts and icicles,

from the twin springs just below the ridge, down this far,
down to the branch, on to the Mississippi, to the Gulf.

The crocus bulbs have called spring!


The light stripey ones,

delicate and bright,

already sticking to the bee’s knees as she crawls inside

to work, drunk on the golden pollen.

The deep purple clump

And the grandest bloom of all,

serene, imperial,
except for the pollen knocked around her ankles.

Rapture and ravishing.

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Great Smokin’ Park.

The Great Smokies National Park
is a smushed oval, about three times as wide (E-W) as high (N-S),
half in North Carolina and half in Tennessee.

Also the oldest and most visited of all the parks,
and the largest one, east of the Mississippi.
There’s no charge to enter.

Highway 441 cuts up the middle,
running 35 miles from Cherokee, North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Newfound Gap is the high point of Highway 441
and also the lowest mountain pass through the Smokies (5046 feet).
A goodly part of the upper section of 441 is a ridge road
that switches back and forth from views to the west and views to the east
just as the Blue Ridge Parkway does (from north to south).

It snowed in the park last week, between one foot and two,
judging from what’s left on the ground.


It’s only 40 minutes driving time from my house to Cherokee,
we discovered yesterday
(about the same from Asheville).
And about that much again to get up to Newfound Gap,
after lunch in Cherokee.


We knew this, and it’s always been true,


but one forgets, with the business of the days
how near this wonder is to us.


The vistas stun, 50 miles across half a dozen rippling ridges.


As you get higher you reach the deciduous tree line;


after a transitional zone of both coniferous and deciduous,
it turns all coniferous.


Some of the parking areas had room for more cars,
some were packed out into the highway,
especially at the popular trail-heads.
Many hundred hikers climbed to the chimneys.


After a couple hours of wallowing
in the weird wondrous streetscape of Gatlinburg,
and all the people passing,


back up to the gap, as night’s shade begins
pulling shadow blankets over the slumbering mountains


and the traffic descends single file back to Cherokee,
going south, or going north to Gatlinburg.


I grabbed a keystoned capture of the patinated plaque whereon


the people of North Carolina, South Carolina, the United States
and the memory of John D. Rockefeller’s wife, Laura, share credit for the park.


The ice and packed snow softened in the sun, and the 55­° temperature.


but firmed up as dusky dark settled.


Where the big trees (still) are,
a trip for another day.

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Yardly working.

What a difference a week makes.

We got about 14″ at the house a week ago
which revealed some usually invisible travel information.

Did this guy start from a hole in the ground
and make a run for the branch?
Or climb up from the branch to find the hole?IMG_20160124_115150876_TOP

Or this one come out from the porch,
or duck underneath?IMG_20160124_115213161

A hunter, naturalist, or gender-nonspecific scout
could tell if these were from the coming and going
of a narrow-footed mincing sasquatch,
or the launch marks of a rabbit leaping.IMG_20160124_115224884

Most intriguing are the ones that just stop
as if lifted by some racoon rapture.IMG_20160124_115445373

But by this week the snow has gone to ground and gone to air,
melted and sublimated down to traces,
and spring is getting busy.IMG_20160131_140238395

Freed from a foot of snow
clusters of lichen and fungus bloom on a broken birch stick.IMG_20160131_142031567

Rich loam-brown gills under
the dazzle-white caps.IMG_20160131_142016116

The English ivy is unperturbed, by the snow,
or by the mulch of birch, apple, maple, oak and hornbeam leaves
or by the broken sticks of inhabited birch.IMG_20160131_141953766

Spring is coming, or another, or several snows.

Life along the ground abides,
covered or not covered.

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Sometimes a house, sometimes a bird feeding station.

The snow raises the stakes, if you’re a bird.
Most of what you’d eat is fourteen inches under a blanket
of the soft fluffy white stuff.

Birds of the north side.


















Eastward mobile.


 From a little distance the feeders look like aircraft carrier in battle.
At any approach near enough to shoot a picture
the birds scatter, nine out of ten,
leaving just the bravest, or the hungriest,
of the finches, nuthatches, mourning doves, siskins,
juncos, blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, robins and the rest.

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Saturday, 28 March 2015 — the difference a day makes.

Yesterday, daffodils split the soft soil to rise and bloom and dangle golden.


Today, sudden, overnight, this has come.


The soft snow may insulate new shoots, even at 20°F.


 Our March did come in lamb-like, promising an exit snow.


Nine inches piled on the railings, in the icy air.


But the ground, still warm, sucked the first six inches down.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, it is the day of the amaryllis, unfolding.


This salmon-pink giraffe, 35 inch stalk,
will open all the way tomorrow,
and the snow be gone.

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First snow, last leaves.

Overnight it grew, as the cold and moisture met.
We were warned — and advised and a-watched and alerted.


No more flowers, no more tomatoes. First hard freeze, also.


But the leaves are not quite done.


Some have shook and shed and they break the whiteout with splashes of yellow, pink, and rust.


Leaves wink from their branches.


And thousands lie scattered across the top of the snow,
in rebellion,
not pressed under,


promising some measure of autumnal rennaisance,
tomorrow or the next day.

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