The snow keeps falling.Just this last week, the British Columbia Winter Games came to Vernon. Hundreds of young athletes celebrated personal and community excellence. On those parts of the valley where humans aren’t on anyone’s radar, however, winter is over and done with — or maybe it began way back in May and lasted through January. I peeked under a wild cherry tree, for instance, and found this tidal pool of mosses, recreating an ancient ocean on a rock.
There was a time when all the forests of the world were this high. These guys are happy to keep celebrating that.
Here’s a variation on the theme, a whole savana in the lee of a Big Sage bush:
In the larger landscape, these mosses are replaced by grasses, and higher up by trees … the pattern, however, remains the same. Weird angle from twisting under those sage limbs, huh.
Just a metre away, outside of the protection of any tree or bush, the story was a little different (but just a little):
Wet Season Delight
In a couple months, when the heat comes, these lichens will all shrink back down onto the rock, which is how humans know them. Right now, though, they’re in their glory.
There’s not a lot of sun out on the hills these days, but what there is it finds the rocks. They bring the season forward at least a month — and, most importantly, do it when the water is still around. Close by, though, there’s another story going on. There’s still last spring to be reckoned with. Take a look at our old friends, the wild grapes on the hill:
These grapes have survived birds, frost, melt, frost, snow, freezing, melt, birds, rain, snow, freezing, rot, and a lot else since September, and yet they’re still alive, still sweet, and still without rot. The low ground cover has stymied the birds. The yeast on their surfaces, a fungus, as well as the cactus-type intermediate photosynthetic acids in their skins, have effectively fought off any bacteria that might cause rot. The grapes have matured nicely. There’s a lesson here about making wine. This is what wine looks like when it’s not in a bottle.
Spring, summer, fall and winter, all at the same time. Those are the real seasons of the Okanagan.