A gopher mound cools the earth by making a trail of bare-soil seed-beds that hold the snow and reflect light and heat. The plants that sprouted there in September need that cover and that delayed moisture.
The deer trail up the hill, which is also bare soil, provides a river of cold running down through the sagebrush along a ravine. It, too, reflects the sun back into the sky.
A cut slope holds heat on its vertical face and turns it into cold on its fan, which it shades to keep the afternoon sun from it — the afternoon that is most likely to take the snow away.
The varying facets of rock on a cliff-face hold snow and heat in complex patterns, but each slope that plants might find purchase on is a miniature field of cold. When it melts from the changing angle of the sun, it will follow crack systems and nurture life.
You can see that pattern in a more mature phase on the boulder below. Note the vertical rivers of snow melt down the rock’s lower face.
On the image below, you can see the cold that the exposed face of the rock, as well as the plant growth the warmth of the exposed, dark rock nurtures below it.
In the erosion patterns below (groundwater from an up-slope golf course’s run-off), cool and warm bands alternate. The white bands cool the earth. The dark bands warm the snow. The balance is going to eventually result into a warm gully that gathers life, with a deer trail following it to the side in a river of cold.
It is all a matter of delaying the departure of winter, the wet season, because in winter, with all its cloud cover, the sky does not steal water from the soil, especially when it uses the sun to bury it. Global cooling is all around us. The image below shows an eroding gravel slope. It also shows eroding cold that is being transformed into life.
Life here is winter in the middle of the dry season. To achieve that, it needs a dry season in the middle of winter. In this way the sun sculpts the earth.
It uses a knife of water. Imagine that.