Predicting the Weather

The unrelieved heat and dryness of the summer has led to the outcome predicted by those of us who have lived in this valley for a couple generations of memory, or more. Here is my filbert, ten years old, learning it.

A hot dry summer is not about heat, but about timing. When spring is 3 weeks early and  the land goes through Autumn in mid-July, 3 weeks early as well, then winter will come hard and fast, bringing the missing water, and also 3 weeks early. It can bring prolonged drought as well, but usually when the cycle is shifted the other way: late frost in the spring, monsoons in July instead of June, and then the summer’s drought through the winter. Right now, though, catkins in the ice.

I was in the south of the valley yesterday, and looked north. The wind was eating off the tops of snow clouds, and rolling them over themselves. That’s not weather that is passing by but weather that is opening out of the pressure of the air. “Weather’s coming,” I said. “CBC reported flurries,” I was told. But I already knew. Am I predicting the arrival of spring? No way. It’s too early for that, but the day will come that I will know what I have already known because I have already experienced it, and it will find voice. This is what it’s like to be home.

Learning to Fly

If you take an old apple tree and add a bit of the sky …

from-clipboardWestern Mountain Bluebird

… on a day when the ocean is flying overhead on its way to the mountains  …


… even the trees start flying.


Filbert (American Hazelnut) Taking to the Wind

My heart flies, too.


Fooling Around With the Seasons or Plant Sex 101

It’s October 20th… that’s Autumn, right? Best to ask the sumacs. They know. Here are the males, in their finery of feathers.
P1320631 And the females just down the road.

P1320545 Not just plumage, but drupes, too, this time. Yeah, those berries. Drupes. Say it out loud. Yeah, that’s how they taste. D..r..u..p..e..s. Nice, eh. But, um. (Yeah, um.) You see, sumacs don’t just live on their own, bolting wild and making a mockery of fence lines and the plans of landscaping architects. They have co-conspirators in this important work. I mean, the filberts. (For our European friends, that’s a great big version of a hazelnut … very tasty, but not near so tasty as a hazelnut, which is definitely the queen of nuts.) Here, have a look-see:

nutStill feeling like fall here. Very fine. 25 degrees Celsius. Sun coming in almost horizontally. If you turn around, it’s right there in your face, too, as if you were stepping into it. That’s a cool feeling. It’s like you could walk between worlds! Magpies chattering away. Raven and hawk keeping their eye on my wanderings (and their backs to the sun, so they don’t go blind as bats and bump into stray children), but, um. Well, look at this…


Male filbert flowers starting their year.

They’ll still be there through the snow, when all the leaves are gone. Faithful, ever-hopeful guys, aren’t they! Love, they say, makes the world go round. This is, I believe, a very good thing.