I live on the bank of a creek.
During the month of February, the northeast of the United States was hit with a period of particularly frigid weather. As I walked outside at night, especially in the cold, wee hours, I bore witness to a strange phenomenon, one I’d never encountered in a lifetime growing up and living in the woods. I heard cracks and pops in the treetops, sometimes followed by the unmistakable sound of a twig or small branch falling to the ground.
On the coldest nights, the sound was almost like corn popping.
The most sound explanation I can come up with is living on the creek, something I’d never done before.
The far bank is much more shallow and sloping than mine. During heavy rains, I’ve seen the water rise as far as 25 or 30 yards onto that bank. (Thank God my bank is so much higher!)
My guess is that these are trees accustomed to having very “wet feet.” As a consequence of having their feet close to or below the water level, they tend to store a lot of water.
When the temperature drops from above freezing to 15 F in a matter of hours, the water in those smallest limbs is sure to freeze. The expansion of the liquid during freezing causes the limb or twig to burst open. Sometimes the eruption causes such damage that the twig fractures and falls noisily to earth.
Pretty cool, huh?
The temperature reached a high of 65 here in my little corner of the Philly ‘burbs today. I raked a bit, cleaned out birdhouses, relocated a few things in the garden, finally emptied my containers from last season (I know, I know…bad gardener!). I surveyed the damage done to my muscari bulbs by the January thaw. They’re up, a little ragged and brown around the edges. Hopefully, the blooms will not be negatively affected. Only time will tell.
It felt good to have my hands in the soil and to feel the sweat squeezing its way through my pores.
For some reason, I decided Sadie must be bathed. For as much as she hates to be bathed, she is the most wonderful dog to bathe I’ve ever had! She’ll get in, albeit reluctantly, without my having to lift her in. She stands stock still for the whole process and waits until I get the towel up before she shakes off when we’re done.
So, the garden shows signs of life, the dog is clean, the bathroom is clean, I found my tanzanite ring while cleaning the bathroom (the last memory I had of it was last week while packing…”My, that’s a strange place for me to have put my ring.” Followed by, “I’ll run into it again while packing.” Location, the shelf of the over-hopper cabinet, where the hand cream is.) I’ve run a bath (Avon’s Tranquil Moments bubbles) and have yummy soaps, shampoos, scrubbies and creams all waiting for me.
So what am I doing wasting time here?