Celebrating the Longest Night

Seems it will not be a white Christmas where I live. As someone who loves snow, I am a bit bummed. But there’s no reason to begrudge brown-green Christmas. I think it reminds us about the active ecologies that we do not typically give attention to at this time of year. 

Norfolk Island Pine (indoors)

As we celebrate big holidays this week and next, I’m sharing here some tiny things to also celebrate. 

Short read: Below-ground ecology

This piece from J Stor Daily will give you a brief introduction to the creatures who labor under our feet and out of our sight. While we eat cookies and drink hot chocolate, they keep things running. (Thank you!) 

Find a friend: In-home ecology

At risk of your disagreement (and surely with head-shaking from my mother) I encourage you to let corner cobwebs in your house stay-put. Get down on your knees and take a look at them! You’re likely to meet what I refer to as an “air spider” (thin legs that make them seem capable of walking on air) but are actually called “cellar spiders.” Each Fall, they make airy webbing along the baseboards and corners near my houseplants. Fungus gnats always come in on plants that spent the Summer outdoors, despite my attempts to abate them. These spiders quickly start reducing the gnat population. (Thank you!) And if you are someone in the “Eeeeek! Spiders? NO!” camp, take assurance that these arachnids are not creepy-fast runners. If you disturb one, they’ll walk away on those thread-like legs. 

“Don’t mind me. I come for the gnats.”

Look around: Unexpected beauty

Earlier this week when I went outside to put seed in the birdfeeder, I noticed something on the ground. 

Imagine the sparkle if I had a real camera!

I could not tell what I was looking at while standing upright, but bending down to inspect this lovely gem, its essence became clear. 

Recycled grass nuggets 😉

Hoar frost, like rime ice, is so special and so beautiful because it requires just the right confluence of moisture and temperature to form its crystals. That three rabbit poops had it on their surface and several not, tells us that those three poops likely had a higher moisture content on exit than their bowel-mates (I’m claiming coinage of that term unless someone else can prove it already existed) and/or perhaps the temperature of those three was just a decimal degree different than the ones that followed. (Or preceded?)

And if you think that is freaking cool (or even if you don’t, because poops) wait until you see this. If these happened in my area, you can guarantee I’d lose my *poop*. 

The rare frost flower

All this to say, we don’t need sunshine and colorful petals to be awed by the ecologies around us. Nor do we need plastic ribbons and glitter.

May you discover a little something naturally amazing during your Solstice night. 

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