Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Life Will Find A Way?

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Photo: Winter Avian Paradise - Horace Mann Plaza Springfield, IL

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Photo: Red Berry Tree Upon A Blue Winter Sky - Springfield, Illinois

Winter is harsh. So tough in fact that most people regret having to reach over to turn their alarm clocks off in the morning for they know they have to face some small segment of their day braving the cold.

For some it means getting their cars started, and waiting until their heaters warm their cars up so they don't have to touch a cold steering wheel. If they're lucky the worst part of their winter experience may be walking from their car into the office.

For other people the dry winter air is the worst part of winter. Many may spend part of their morning waxing their lips with chapstick, and then moisturizing their hands to prevent the desert like effects that central heating has upon their skin.

But these are inconveniences really.

While most people resent the high cost of keeping their homes warm in the winter we know that we'd never make it through the winter without all the modern contraptions we take for granted that keep us toasty warm four months out of the year.

We are vastly more fragile than previous generations when it comes to the way we deal with winter. Our fragility while not reflected in our actual experience of winter is revealed in our dependence upon a complex system of keeping us alive during these arctic like months.

Imagine the pain we would suffer if one winter morning we discovered that some terrorist group had attacked our local power plant, and disabled our only source of electricity?

Even natural gas, and oil based furnace systems depend upon electricity to deliver heat throughout the home.

As you'd awaken that horrible tragic morning the first thing you'd notice is your alarm clock not going off, and no lights coming on when you pressed the switch.

Only slowly would it dawn upon you that the winter which you never took seriously before was quickly oozing through the walls of your modern home to greet your every touch - your every breath.

You'd notice your breath hanging in the air in front of you, and your toes would curl as they touched the cold floors. Your windows, despite the light they'd allow into your home, would become your worst enemy.

You might look over at your fireplace, and wonder how long you could keep warm with your meager stack of wood. Not long at all, not long at all - perhaps a day or two, or perhaps less.

Panic would strike you after discovering that the entire region you lived in, and hunderds of thousands of your fellow citizens were facing a similar situation.

How could this be? How could this be, you'd ask yourself repeatedly. But no one would be there to answer. That night from the warmth of the Oval Office your nation's leader might speak in inspiration tones, telling you that help was coming, but you'd be too scared to waste your only remaining batteries listening to speeches.

It wouldn't matter anyway, for it would be too late for talk. Too late for talk as the winter would bare down upon you like never before.


Cold, dark winter.

The foe of a thousand generations would have you by the throat, and the only choice left to anyone in your spot would be the same as that of any nomadic tribesman living a thousand years ago - to flee.

One of the reasons I get so angry with the Bush administration isn't because I hate my country, or because I hate rich people, or because I hate people who only care about rich people.

I love my country, and believe down to my very core that all the tax dollars, lives, and time wasted since 9-11 hasn't made any of us in this nation safer from a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile winter awaits.

Photographs: This berry filled tree is located on the south side of Horace Mann Plaza. I guess putting a nest in a tree filled with berries is a pretty good idea. They look very pleasant indeed, but it was extremely cold when I captured these images, and they must be frozen solid.

The low hanging sun in the southern sky, which is present in the "nest photo", lends a hopeful radiance. It's funny how in the winter even a bit of sunlight can have such a tremendous effect. Life will find a way.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Kale Snow Riders!

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Kale Snow Riders Race Down The Mountainside.

The furious winds dove down the mountainside carrying with them the snow riders. As torrential as the winds the kale snow riders raced across the frozen glacier not stopping or slowing until they reached the frozen bay.

A whaling ship had just arrived at the small whaling village of Ludac. The snow riders waited until nightfall before they entered for they had business to do with the Captain of the Franz Gelling, but wanted nothing of men.

O.K. I'll stop there. We'll just assume an exciting adventure takes place which involves the Kale snow riders, and the captain of the Ludac.

The image above is some digital art I created based upon a photograph I took Monday. It's a field of frozen kale in a field of snow. I kind of thought the kale looked like a group of nomadic tribesmen on horseback. This tribe survives on the very edge of what is survivable. They cover themselves, and their horses in furs to keep from freezing to death - hunting Bear, and Seals.

This post is dedicated to The Kale Snow Riders!
May you ride on - you group of intrepid vegetables!

Winter of Old

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Photo: Horace Mann Plaza Pond - Springfield, IL - Winter 2005

It has been very cold these last few days in Springfield, Illinois. Good sleeping weather. I am convinced that there must be a type of hibernation instinct in people - we gain weight, and sleep a lot. This winter has really shown itself to be a "classic" winter. For many years winter in Central Illinois has been so temperate that children have grown up not knowing what a snow shovel looks like.

The shift appears to have taken place a few years ago, and Springfield has been getting snow that sticks around for more than a day. This is very much the type of weather I grew up with here in Springfield.

I've always believed that winter serves a cleansing purpose. It kills off, and culls many microbes, and fungus. It acts as a type of reaper to weak animals, and people. Most unkind winter can be, but it can also be very beautiful. The photograph above was taken at Horace Mann Plaza.

Few people were walking today. I bundled up, and braved the single digit temperatures for my lunch time photo gathering.

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