Friday, September 21, 2007

Spider in a Web

The progress of the fall season has slowed to a glacial crawl--not today's glacial speed, but the speed at which glaciers used to move. At Roundtop, even the wind is calm, giving spiders leave to build their webs between two blades of grass. Surely, the tiniest breeze would spell disaster for this web, but it has survived now for at least a week. The fish, however, have been eyeing it hungrily.
I think the animals around me are in a holding pattern too. Usually, the white-tailed deer are at least beginning their annual rut. It's common to see them, sometimes by the dozens, in the fields at dusk. When the rut is really in full swing, driving after dark is hazardous. Many are killed, and many cars are damaged. This year, I am not yet seeing that congregation or deer nor the chasing around that follows it. And yet, I continue to see Roundtop's deer nearly every early morning, as they travel down to one or the other of the ponds an hour before dawn.
South-bound migration of birds also seems to have stalled, birds lulled perhaps by the calm weather or perhaps simply by the lack of a tailwind to help them travel.
This September is not unusual in some respects--the weather alternates between above and below normal daytime temperatures. For the new few days, above normal temperatures will prevail. What seems unusual is that even when the daytime temperatures are at or below normal levels, the nighttime temperature stays warmer than normal. Is that how global warming will work in the temperature zones? Is that why it doesn't seem real to some people? If the daytime temperatures were 5 degrees above normal all the time, it would be harder to ignore, I think.

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