Friday, February 03, 2012

the woods in winter - february

After a long mild stretch of winter the weather has turned properly cold now, and the ground is freezing in the woods. Last night it was minus three and today it is minus five in the afternoon. There is the sound of the wind lifting the branches of an oak tree. The moon is visible in the east and we have a low sun moving across the southern sky. The season has been mild and the spring plants have come up too early, so they now have to suspend their activity and sleep again through the cold weather.


P2P said...

I can't believe those pictures are from a walk in a winter forest. I have some aerial shots in my blog of how the forests look up here atm - one can only imagine there to be some life left under the piles of snow.

the spouse of a good friend of mine is a bit of a forest nutty (we have plenty of them here), and he's voluntarily doing over-night camping in these circumstances... also a good friend of my brother's is going through his mandatory military service now, and is at the moment on a training camp in the forest that lasts for two weeks. they do tend to pull out alive but, hell, I could never get through two weeks in amongst freezing, blinding whiteness.

it's -29 degrees in helsinki at the moment. the yearly menorrhea of maiden of finland manifests itself again as an infertile ice-age...

as you know I was in a warmer place for some time, so for my body this transition and drop of up to sixty degrees is rather extreme. I have been suffering from a flu all week, and have had to avoid going out for the past five days. finally yesterday I had the courage to walk a couple of hundred meters to the pub down the street, to see some friends and drink mulled wine.

in order to make myself feel a bit more content over the current location of mine, I've been reading the local paper from Longyearbyen, Svalbard;

john said...

Hi P2P. Yes it is surprisingly green here in the woods. It does look warm in the sunlight. We haven't had snow and the weather has only just turned cold, very late this year. I have been enjoying your photographs very much lately, though I haven't seen the most recent ones by the sound of it, and hope you had a good trip there. That must be quite a shock; the change of climate, and I hope you feel well again soon. Mulled wine should help. Hope all going well there P2P and thanks for popping by. I'll have a look at the link, Svalbard's a way up north isn't it?

nobody said...

Arctic Circle! Bloody hell. Longyearbyen, what a town. But apparently there's a Radisson there now. Let's tourism frenzy!

Great photes John. I like number four. It's a perfect phote really.

And have you been over to the haiku John? This week it's all you. Unless it's a big hit and everyone goes nuts, in which case it's all me, ha ha. Anyway, head over and write us a thing. Everyone has done brilliantly so far. Even Aangirfan put in a fine collective schoolgirl effort. I'll turn them into a poet yet.

And P, I've a half finished email for you. Shortly.

A thought! The maid can write haiku surely? John, give her a prod. See if she's got a little Japanese poet lurking within her.

P2P said...

mulled wine was good indeed - found out while enjoying it that f-land has, potentially, the biggest uranium reserves in europe. that creates a big energy export potential, which we could turn into our benefit - in theory, because like norway, we'd have to join nato in order to secure our assets and well, that kind of spoils the thought about "benefits" at least for me.

in relation to nuclear power, this is a great french documentary film which I saw a couple of years back. it's beautifully filmed and the air of it suits the subject matter amazingly well.

yesterday, as was expected, we elected a new president who has been pro-nato at least since the nineties. and - his pension will be paid by the european central bank.

he was the justice minister during the preparations of f-land's submission to escb, switching to the position of finance minister just as we signed out of a near century of our government being the highest authority in supplying money, giving that authority away to eurocrats. it is quite incredible on my opinion that even in the official history of the finish central bank this change in its role is barely mentioned - before 1999 it was under the control of our parliament, now it responds solely to frankfurt.

anyway. the degrees have lowered to -5, so nothing to complain here. svalbard, what a different story that must be... this was my favorite from the local paper, from a story titled "bears, crazy foxes & idiots."

"OK, for noobs and scatterbrains, let's review the basics: This is the Arctic. There are dangerous things outside. Try not to be an idiot about it.

A polar bear was spotted a few kilometers from Longyearbyen on Sunday and a fox exhibiting signs of rabies attacked a woman this afternoon in Nybyen. But those and a few other recent hazards didn't make much impression on an Israeli tourist described as "arrogant," who got stuck late today trying to snowmobile through a high-avalanche area to Fardalen without any form of polar bear protection. The attitude he showed while renting the snowscooter and when two local boys helped him get unstuck didn't go away when police responded in a rescue helicopter and shortly after explained responsible habits at the station."

reem said...

Active John i should to say ...nice wintery walk ,i like the fourth photo it's beautifull .the intruder sunlight through the branches seems warm ,i like this sort of green small plants i don't know what do you call them but my mum had one in her house ,it's called in arabic Al monshar ,the saw ,i think it's sort of fern .

Chaos of these branches just as the chaos ,mess of this life ,manytimes we don't know things that we realy want and through this mess we still looking for something special ,mybe the sunlight does the same ,it looks for a place to intrud into the ground .

I think you haven't got snowy winter for this year ,i remember the yew tree in her white dress i liked it ,i guess it still there standing strongly .

Thanks Jone for your photos ,have good time ......

john said...

Hi nobody. Apologies for the delay in returning. I liked photo four as well though it doesn't look very cold in the woods in the photos. I think it's so green there because it's a bit of a swampy area. It certainly looks cold today.

I went over to the haiku blog yesterday and it was a surprise to see the photo there. I keep thinking it's going to be Sheila but it never is. It's certainly interesting to read the haiku there. I'll have to get my finger out and write one. I'll ask The Maid but she takes some persuading sometimes.

john said...

Hi P2P. Joining NATO is an awful idea isn't it? I don't see them doing any good around the world, far from it in fact. I did wonder what your take on the Finnish elections. It looks like the fix is in everywhere these days.

I watched the documentary 'Into Infinity' and found it very interesting and also beautifully filmed. I was even enjoying the music, which is something I probably pay more attention to than is useful. The forests in the film really did look very cold and lovely. I was impressed by the fact that in Finland the problem of what to do with nuclear waste had actually been addressed. There has been much shuffling of feet in this country and from what I can recall, our own waste is partly stored in a shed somewhere, probably guarded by a man smoking a pipe and wearing tweed. As soon as I saw the diagram of the Onkalo tunnels I was reminded of the tunnels inside and beneath the great pyramid, echos of which continued to turn up throughout the film.

john said...

Choukran Reem. I think the plants are called ferns here but Al monshar, the saw, does sound right, as they are definitely sawlike in shape. The woods have been thrown into dissaray by the winter, with the winds turning and disturbing the trees and making a bit of a mess. The sunlight will find a way through all this and wake the plants again soon.

The snow has missed us here so far. The clouds look like snowclouds but nothing is falling from them. Mind you, it is February so it could still happen.

Hope all is good where you are Reem.

P2P said...

we have had paid men on presidential duty since kekkonen died. he is legendary.

the nato discussion is one of the first political topics I remember, it began immediately after the soviet union fell. we have already taken steps towards joining, by arming our military to meet nato "standards" etc. I would really hate to see that happen personally. I've seen nato bases in norway and they're just... not a sight that fits their beautiful landscape.

the pyramids were an interesting reference, I too thought. warnings matter very little to us curious beings.

though, in the end, I think it is good to have a project like onkalo. it is not sufficient of course, especially if one thinks about nuclear waste on a global scale. but it's better than doing nothing. I don't think nuclear power should be the option number one for everyone, but it serves us pretty well up here where the winds don't blow, the sun doesn't shine and the rivers we won't dam. of course one hopes for a sustainable solution.

an interesting artist just discovered this evening. full moon must have had an impact.

nobody said...

Mari Boine! A revelation! That's easily the best thing I've heard for ages. Thanks P, nice one.

john said...

The BBC reported in 2010 that in the UK "Plans for the construction of an underground repository have been discussed for decades, but as yet, no firm decisions have been made."

The Guardian said that "The Department of Energy and Climate Change thinks geological storage is the best option and is keen for local areas to volunteer sites to help meet its goal of putting the first waste into a disposal facility by the end of 2029." no great hurry really.

From the fascinating fact filled 2010 Radioactive Waste Inventory we find that in the UK "The total volume of radioactive waste that exists today or is forecast over the next century or so from existing facilities is about 4.7 million cubic metres. This volume
would fill the new Wembley stadium about four times over. The equivalent weight is about 5 million tonnes. A further 1 million cubic metres of radioactive waste has already been disposed."

john said...

And also "Up to 1995 about 800,000
cubic metres of low level waste has been disposed by tipping into trenches that have been capped off." and "Some wastes with very low activity are routinely sent
to specific landfill sites for disposal."

"About 91% by volume of all radioactive wastes in the UK are
produced in England, 6% in Scotland
and 3% in Wales."

According to Wiki, between 1948-82 the UK dumped in the NE Atlantic at 15 sites an unknown amount of containers carrying 74,052 tons of waste and in 18 sites off coast of British isles more than 9.4 TBq second only in the world to the USSR at 38,369 which they dumped in the Arctic and way ahead of the next, being Switzerland at 4,419 in the Atlantic.

Anyway this sort of stuff goes on and on and that's probably enough amazing facts for now and yes I agree nobody, that is a very nice bit of singing (or was it yoiking?) that you linked for us P2P.