An Eastern comma butterfly was captured sunning itself between the stormy and windy weather on Saturday, March 26. Commas are some of the first butterflies of the season because they overwinter in the area as adults.
Water and light
Reflection is defined as the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it. I fancied the words "throwing back" in the definition. The phrase totally embodied a few recent photos that I had taken.
In essence, water was throwing back the light from the sun.
I have always been fascinated by the textures and patterns created by the sunlight on the water. Sometimes, the surface of the water almost had a metallic quality. Other times, the sunlight filtering through various ripples created delicate designs.
It turned out that I'm not the only one who thought that way. An internet search turned up several quotes on the subject. However since most of the quotes were found on the internet, readers should be cautioned that quotes may not be factual or attributed to the right person. So the phrases in this post and many, many Pinterest photo-quotes could be wrong.
Nonetheless, several statements expressed my sentiments about light, water and reflections.
The quote, "You are a pool of clear water where the light plays," was attributed to English writer Jeanette Winterson.
American author William Maxwell was credited with the saying, "Happiness is the light on the water. The water is cold and dark and deep."
"We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see," was said to be a Zen Proverb.
Jamaican spiritual teacher, Mooji, was responsible for the words, "Your self-image is as ephemeral as the play of light dancing on the surface of the water. "
"It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things," was attributed to American writer and novelist Nicholas Sparks.
Laozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher is credited with the phrase, "Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong."
I found that statement interesting since my mom had commented on some Facebook posts saying that some of the photos reminded her of photos of canyons. It was kind of ironic, because most canyons were indeed carved out by water.
Nonetheless, some photos required clear waters to see the textures and patterns of the rocks below. However, several somebodies have bee known to muddy the waters upstream.
That's just the nature of things 'round here.
It's "snow" surprise
After this week's return to wintry weather, I felt like I should issue a formal apology for my last post. I wrote about how it was a rather mild and snowless winter. Mother Nature apparently took notice and replied with a "challenge accepted."
According to some weather observations posted by the National Weather Service office in Pittsburgh, Franklin received between 2 to 3 inches early Tuesday morning. A report from Tionesta stated that the area had seen around 4 inches of snow. Here in Pinegrove Township, I believed we got at least 3 inches. However, it was hard to tell as the wind created drifts in various areas. Nonetheless, it provided enough snow for Clem, the bloodhound, to dump, Gus, the St. Bernard, into.
With only days left until the calendar declares it's spring on March 20, the snowfall seemed like a slap in the face to those of us waiting for warmer weather. It was especially hurtful because of the mild February weather. The stats for February, according to data on the National Weather Service's website, recorded that Franklin only had 1.3 inches of snow for the month and at least two 68-degree days. So far for March, we have dumped on February's total. As of March 15, it was reported that Franklin had a total of 4.2 inches of snow and only one 64-degree day so far.
Some of my photos from 2020 and 2012 showed that there were crocuses out in the yard and even tadpoles in the neighbor's pond. In contrast, this year only a few crocus leaves have emerged and the pond still has ice cover.
Meanwhile, a trail camera photo from last year shows that this year has followed suit as far as snow cover in March.
Although, an extra hour of daylight in the evening, has been a bit of a blessing. The sun actually showed up on a few occasions. In fact, by Thursday, March 16, the temperature had climbed to 52 degrees and most of the snow was melting. This was a little disappointing to at least four canines who rather enjoy romping in the white stuff.
"Are we done with the snow?," was a question I asked myself. I even hesitated to write about a possible warmup for fear of retaliation from Mother Nature. That's just the nature of things 'round here.
“Spring, are we there yet?” That was a question I kept repeating to myself over the fluctuating weather of the past weeks.
The calendar boasted less than 15 days until spring, or the vernal equinox, which is scheduled for Monday, March 20. On a side note, we spring forward an hour for Daylight Savings time on Sunday, March 12.
As the offices welcomed the beginning of their spring, they also wrapped up February’s weather stats.
A Feb. 22 post from the National Weather Service Office in Cleveland, Ohio, said “It could be one of the least snowiest Februarys on record! Cleveland, Toledo, and Mansfield are currently (as of Feb 22) on track for No. 1 least snowiest. Youngstown and Akron-Canton are on track for No. 2 least snowfall. Erie, Pa., is No. 3.”
A graphic listed that, as of Feb. 22, Erie had 1.6 inches of snow for this year which was only slightly above the total .50” for 1998.
A post by Erie News Now's meteorologist A.J. Mastrangelo said that “snowfall (or lack thereof) was the 6th least in recorded history.” A graphic on the page touted that the city’s average winter snowfall is 77.5” compared to this year’s dismal 19.3”.
The post relayed that the city saw more snow in November than during the rest of the season.
The National Weather Service office in Pittsburgh posted that “February 2023 was the least snowy February on record with just 0.2 inches of snowfall and the fourth warmest February on record for Pittsburgh.”
The Pittsburgh office celebrated the first day of meteorological spring on March 1 by saying “five of our six climate sites either tied or broke their daily record high temperature."
“Pittsburgh fell one degree short of the record, clocking a high of 71°, with the record 72° set back in 1972,” the post continued.
The office went on to report that “winter 2022-2023 was the 12th least snowy winter for Pittsburgh with just 11.1 inches between December and February (meteorological winter). It was also the eighth warmest winter on record.”
A little closer to home, the National Weather Service weather station at the Franklin Airport recorded the high for March 1 at 61 degrees at 4:56 p.m.
However, things went downhill from there. The high for March 2, according to the station, was 48 degrees. Highs for March 3, 4 and 5 hovered in the low 40s.
While the warmer temps were welcome, the weather service cautioned that it may not last.
The office in Pittsburgh posted that “probabilities are increasing that the middle to late portions of March will feature below normal temperature (normal average temperature rises from 35° to 45° through the month).”
Folks can view graphics on the potential cool down from the NOAA NWS Climate Prediction Center at NOAA by clicking on "Interactive" to view different ones.
From those weather service posts, I surmised it was not, yet time go without a "clout."
An article by Ben Reed on spring season sayings inspired a new word use and phrase for me.
“Cast not a clout until May is out” is described by Reed as an "English saying that warns against casting aside winter clothing too early in the year.”
The post elaborated on the phrase by saying “'clout" is an Old English word meaning "patch of cloth." In later times, this term widened to include garments in general.
I secretly hoped that I wouldn’t have to wait until May for warmer temps. Nonetheless, I continued looking at other spring weather sayings.
Of course, there’s always the Mark Twain that said, "In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours." The quote seemed to adequately describe the weather this season.
It seemed that snow, rain, wind, cold, sunshine and warmth could all be experienced within just a matter of hours, sometimes minutes. I felt like March’s winds and April’s showers had all been crammed into the month of February.
However, as another saying declares, "not one sparrow makes a spring."
That’s just the nature of things ‘round here.
"The Nature of Things" features the writings and photographs of Anna Applegate, who is a lifelong resident of Pinegrove Township, Venango County. She is a graduate of Cranberry High School and Clarion University. After a 15-year career in the local news industry, she made a change and now works at a steel finishing plant in Sandycreek Township. She is a avid lover of animals and nature, and a gifted photographer.