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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Arb Notes

    <ve been hearing some gripes and grumblings lately, alleging that this midwinter is “bleak.” Really? Cold it might be, but especially in the Arb, there is nothing charmless or dreary about the midwinter landscape. Our winter white blanket is returning as I write this, but even its brief, muddy, puddled hiatus left much to be appreciated and hoped for.

    Perhaps the midsummer prairie bloom kaleidoscope cannot be compared to the February Arb, but really, we just need to think outside the crayon box. Let’s begin with the night. I went for a late walk back on a night of the full moon, which illuminated the silver-blue snakes of snow trails. In the moonlight, I could see across the entirety of the snowy glowing prairie as it contrasted the deep night shadows—trees, grasses, river, owl.

    Then the dawn, when there is magic in the morning sunrise than can be seen through the naked trees, orange and peach and pink slowly fading out the nighttime blue, followed by the snow sparkle in daytime sunshine—the field of diamonds stretching down from the Hill of Three Oaks, across the lakes, onto campus—a field upon which the deep blue tree shadows dance and sway. You can see the shape of trees in the winter, how their branches reach and extend from the trunk, their frosted outlines after this fresh snowfall, those few brave leaves clinging on with some kind of hope before being swept into the wind. And all those places where buds will become leaves and blooms and blossoms.

    The winter colors of the Arb are dark brown river-flood mud, crystalline snow blue-white, red cardinal, grey squirrel, white-tail deer, orange sunrise, purple sunset and every earth color of tree bark, grass stem, bird nest and brush pile. There is nothing bleak about it.

    By Katie Blanchard, on behalf of the Arb Naturalists.

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