Lengthening Light Potpourri


It’s been windy and cold up here on the Blue Ridge, but we have luckily not been flooded the way that some of our Southern neighbors were.  Other than the lengthening light, there aren’t too many signs of Spring, yet.  I’m eager for the first snowdrops or daffodils, even some winter jasmine.  There are little, tight, red buds on the maple trees that the developer put in my yard and I send them good thoughts every time that I walk by.  These wood sorrel mini cream tarts would definitely make me feel as if Spring had sprung.   I wish I’d had this recipe before I moved.  I pulled more of that stuff out of my herb bed than you can imagine.  I might substitute shortbread for the graham crackers, though.  How’s your Spring Watch going?

Did you see this fascinating article about  how sand dunes communicate?  For many of us, that’s no surprise at all.  So do the mountains up here, I’ll tell you that for free.

And, speaking of communication, quilts were once used to send message of freedom.  Spies have used knitting and other forms of needlework to communicate information, as well.  What skill do you have that could be used in a new and different way?

Christopher Penczack has a good reminder for those times when we’re a bit betwixt and between.  His post reminds me that our basic practices are most needed when things aren’t going right.  For most of us, that would be, oh, about now.  Don’t let your concern (completely justified) about the state of the world throw you off of your game.  Now is when you really do need to ground and center, shield, meditate, exercise, get enough sleep — you know, the basics.  What are you doing to take care of yourself?  What would you do if you had 15 extra minutes?

I’m always fascinated  by people who devote themselves to recording information about a particular place.  It can be a particularly good way of coming into a deeper relationship with the land.  Here’s a fascinating article about the man who has made it his life’s work to record the UK’s oldest permanent snow patch.

It’s survived! The UK’s oldest and most permanent patch of snow is safely buried under a duvet of fresh snow and will live to see another spring. Known as the Sphinx, this icy pocket situated in an isolated corrie on Britain’s third highest mountain, Braeriach, in the Scottish Cairngorms range, is thought to have melted only seven times in the past 300 years.

Counting and measuring the pockets of snow that persist year-round is a passion for Iain Cameron. For 15 years, he and his team of volunteers have been tramping the highlands of Scotland, England and Wales, keeping an eye on snow patches. Their records are providing a valuable indicator of the climate crisis.

Iain Cameron searches for snow patches on the slopes of Braeriach in 2017.
Iain Cameron searches for snow patches on the slopes of Braeriach in 2017. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Having first melted completely in 1933, the Sphinx has become more vulnerable in recent years, failing to survive in both 2017 and 2018. But after a wild and gruelling walk, including a camp-out in a bothy, Cameron reportsthat about nine sq metres of Sphinx have made it through summer 2019.

The story of the Sphinx is a highlight in an otherwise gloomy report, which shows accelerated disappearance of all snow patches and none surviving beyond 22 May in England and Wales this year.


Picture found here.

6 responses to “Lengthening Light Potpourri

  1. Your “Here’s a fascinating” link on the snow patches is coming up as an invalid URL.

  2. Are you in the Blue Ridge Mountains? That’s my kind of country. I’m originally from Missouri near the Ozarks. My favorite mountains nowadays are The Great Smokies. I get to go there when I visit my brother in Knoxville.
    He always takes me to Cades Cove, a long valley that still has many, if not all, the same structures. I loved it when I saw an old sorghum mill. I love sorghum, not easy to get our here in San Francisco. My Grandma Roland showed me how to cream it together with butter to put on biscuits. She was, I’ve learned early on, a forager. She picked poke salad. She taught my brother how to get sassafras for tea. I loved it. She somehow always knew where to find hickory nuts and wild persimmons. She knew the difference between a regular bark pecan tree and a scaly-bark one. One time she actually made hominy that she cooked in a big pot out in the yard. She also had natural remedies & poultices she used to help us heal when we were sick. She was a sharecropper who raised my Mom on her own. Thanks for my memory! You’re so blessed to have all the sorrel you want to pick. I love sorrel soup. Goddess bless and protect us all in this time of unease and fear of these men. Matriarchy rising!

  3. Sadly here in the UK snow patches are disappearing earlier in the year and this is having an effect on those animals that change their coat colour over the winter to adapt. Coat colour changes in response to day length, not temperature which means these animals become “out of sync” with the environment and thus more vulnerable to predators.

    The work of witches against climate change is needed more now than ever.

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