Greenhouses Made Out of Snow

The coyotes come on by in the fog.snow8 Heavy coyote traffic, really.

snow12coyote Birds trit trot through.snow1Mule Deer stalk along.snow3

And the grasses and sages use the energy from these travellers and peck-peckers…


… to cast their seeds on the snow.



Lots of seeds.

snow2 It’s easy to see how the melting snow will carry the seeds into places on the soil crust of mosses and lichens that capture the water, making for germination, but there’s even more going on. It’s a fascinating microclimate down at snow level. The snow surface is surprisingly warm. It melts and refreezes daily, soaks the seeds, freezes in complex crystal shapes that then focus the sun like lasers, adding intense heat, and then thaws in a repetitive cycle, breaking open the seed cases— all modulated by water’s temperature range.snowseed


Now, that’s a beautiful thing.




8 replies »

  1. I’ve been enjoying these winter posts – thank you! The Bridget/Rowan was a special favourite so far. You blend the careful seeing of science with the far-ranging vision of poetry so well; this offers me inspirational art as well as a guide to mindful observation. Is it time for you to add a donation button to this blog?


    • Thanks for the vote of confidence! And thanks for the donation button idea. I avoided that for the last 3 years on this project, because back then the writing world was saturated with attempts to turn writing into marketing, and I just wanted to do something real, but at 904 posts, perhaps I’ve probably done that and can look to ways to support this work so I can keep doing it. Three pairs of hiking boots, three pairs of walking shoes, four cameras, all worn out, plus all the software and hardware, whew, eh. I’ll have to check into this.


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