Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Lighten Up

     The fire popped and exploded into a nova of sparks. They shot towards the stars before drifting down to blink out on the snowy ground. Sort of like my thoughts which burst forth full of light and energy, then sort of fizzle.

     I was at Eagleville, burning brush and deadfall at my woodlot. Ideal conditions: no wind and good snow cover but I was still having second thoughts. The Scotch Pine that Lee Wulff had planted many years ago were dying, falling over in a pick-up-sticks jumble that made it hard to walk. Much like what's happening across the arid West, they could provide fuel for wildfire should we get a severe summer drought. They had no economic value but what were the ecological considerations? Did they provide habitat for wildlife? build soil organic matter? sequester carbon?

     Lacking absolute knowledge and conviction, I chose compromise (politicians, are you listening?). I decided to clean-up a few spots where we could park, picnic and camp while leaving the rest to nature. So there I was, on one of the shortest days of the year, waiting for my little bonfire to burn itself out. Just a small circle of flickering illumination amongst somber trees. Beyond, there was nothing but gloom and whatever lurked in it.

     Being alone with fire in the cold darkness is primordial. It connects us with our earliest ancestors. Small comfort in warmth and light. Maybe it's that experience we are trying to recreate when we bring trees into our homes, stringing them aglow. Cheery, colorful lights are my favorite part of the season. As I threw snow onto the last dying embers of my bonfire I was already looking forward to the drive home, to the rainbow scenes of Christmas lights that I'ld see along the way. 


The covered bridge is like a portal to times gone by

A little tree in the window, a big tree in the yard

Color adorns garage and fence


At Argyle Brewing - cheer within and out

The footbridge shimmers

By the library


The library entrance 
Colorful flowers in summer, colorful lights in winter

Red, white and blue and other colors too

A sea of trees 

Big tractors, little lights 


     Jupiter and Mars are the bright Christmas stars (ok, planets) but dimmer Saturn is also visible in early evening and with a little luck you might be able to catch Mercury, Venus and the Moon right after sunset. What a wonderful gift light is ...

From the Sky & Telescope website


     Listening to NPR today (12/22) I heard Brian Mann's story about Wild Lights at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. A snowy forest filled with color and music. Made me want to go. Check out their Facebook page for neat videos and more info.

From The Wild Center


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