Treasures & Temperatures

The snow all got washed away by the 2nd “100 year flood” Vermont got to experience in 2023. Following a full year of earth temperatures largely over previous maximums. When we moved here 12 years ago, climate change was a major parameter in picking a viable place to live anywhere in the very large country that is the U.S.A.. As time passed, we have met more people here having picked the Northeast for the same reason. We are slowly getting accustomed to the concepts of climate refugees (albeit early proactive ones as we are ourselves), and disruptions from climate events (roads, school and grid closures from floods). The Great Salt Lake which we left for Vermont, is all but gone. That is the Great Salt Lake, after which the state capital is named (there is a funny story there about Fillmore being the original capital of the state). Between the pandemic accelerating trends, and world tensions, it really feels like we all know the bus is headed for a cliff, and nations started jostling for the best seats. It’s hard to not feel like we’re a “pre” phase like we read about in history books. I never could understand how people were so blind in the years preceding WWII. I now understand it fully having seen how many decent, good, generous and smart people are perfectly ok voting for the massive turds excreted by the republican party, while the other side abandons itself to individualistic & identitarian ideologies. It’s now clear that the right amount of pressure turns a lot of us into fools. One can only hope that the shifts this is all a preface to remain civil. I had a great conversation last night in the few minutes preceding 2024 about negativity and positivity. While I’m definitely over trying to save the world (riding a bicycle while getting passed recklessly by several Hummers will do that to you), I’m still trying to do something, mostly to keep my conscience at ease. Above all now we’re trying to increase our resilience to what the future may hold. How many standard deviations can the systems that sustain us take? I’m guessing not many. How much inertia do climate and social phenomena have? I’m guessing a lot.

So we went in the woods in this absurd January Fall weather. We’re always extremely grateful for our luck to live in such an environment, the kids know it too. A walk in the woods is a great way to forget about the raging world, and it always yields super cool treasures.

It’s hard to get to but we took a detour to see the biggest tree on our land, it’s an absolutely massive Oak several times the diameter of any I’ve seen, and it’s very healthy. 3 of us holding hands went around only half of its diameter. The photo doesn’t do it justice, we’ll bring a tape measure next time. It might belong in Vermont’s big tree program. I stumbled upon it 10 years ago, the first time I walked through the land. I remember with envy the surreal experience of getting lost in acres of future promise and potential. For better and for worse, we’ve become well acquainted with all corners of this wonderful place.

Mossy ledge with stalactites. It doesn’t take much more than moss and stalactites to make kids happy.

We have a large “unproductive” marsh that’s just “wasting” space. But in reality it’s a haven for wildlife, and I’m sure it’s a great filter to water which eventually ends up in the Connecticut River. It’s got cattails throughout the year, and we looooove cattails.

It’s really fascinating how densely packed the seeds are, and fun to release them.

I’d like to think of all the strategies evolution came up with to propagate seeds, making it fun for the kids is a successful one.

The forest is a great place to find treasures, it’s hard to go 2 steps without hearing about a critter hole or other.

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