It's the season of freezing. Whether the landscape is covered in a pristine blanket of soft white, gray slushy slop, or just exposed frozen ground, plants and animals living in areas where cold is the seasonal norm adapt to survive. Animals have a broad set of adaptive mechanisms. They insulate, hibernate, store food, synthesize anti-freeze in their circulatory systems, and gather together for warmth. They store fat to burn during leanest times. They die, expecting their eggs or larvae to carry on the following spring. They prey on those weakened by winter's harshness. As for my own ability to adapt, a long hike in new-fallen snow is glorious-- especially knowing a cozy chair in front of a blazing fire and mug of hot tea await. Is that cheating? Wishing you a healthy, inspired, and fearless New Year!
Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.
Artist and naturalist Michelle Louis has a vigorous curiosity about the natural world. She walks with intention in wild places at least 1,200 miles yearly, much of it on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. She makes art documenting her experience along the way and in her studio.