Monday, December 29, 2008
CHANGE AND HIGHER WATER
Change is the only certainty regarding Ohio’s weather. At least this has sure been true over the last few days. First it was cold, followed by snow, then bitterly cold, then warmer, and after that came a couple of really unseasonably warm days, which gave way to rain, which got replaced by cloudy and cooler, then almost-but-not-quite-normal-cold with sunshine. Somewhere in that mess was sleet, an afternoon of thunder, and winds gusting near 50 mph…but I forget their exact order, except they didn’t occur all at once. The other day, the arctic cold and wind produced chill factors in the minus-twenty range. Saturday, succumbing to a moment of redneck foolishness, I ambled up to the mailbox and back without a shirt. A couple of days ago a cardinal spent hours in one of the cedars near the cottage singing his heart out—so loud and boisterous you’d have thought it was mid-April. I don’t know whether that ol’ redbird was genuinely confused, or just taking advantage of near-70 temperatures to get in a few licks of practice. Whatever the case, I enjoyed hearing his performance. In the midst of all this the river has continued to rise. It is now up about six feet from normal pool. Not worrisome high, thank goodness. And not now rising. The photo at the top of this entry shows the same riffle the great blue heron is wading in the picture behind the blog’s title and header. The water level would be about two feet above the heron’s head. The second shot is of the same riffle taken a couple of days earlier. This was before our latest heavier rains, which brought the river up to its current level. There had been some rain the day and night before I took this shot, which is why it looks (and was) a bit muddy, plus it had turned much colder—enough so that even the fast water was starting to clog with ice. But if you look close between the ice clumps you can still see a few riffle rocks amidst the churning water. It’s about two feet deeper than when I took the heron pix. Upstream from our cottage, where the current is slower, on this same day ice formed from bank to bank along a half-mile stretch.