Friday, November 03, 2006


From Diana Kappel-Smith's Wintering (1979)
It turns out that not many animals do truly hibernate, let go of that hard-won skill of keeping themselves warm from the inside out, beacuse like all risky private lettings-go it is not easy to find a place safe enough to do it in. Hibernators need a hidey-hole and the complex series of behaviors to find a good hole, or to make one. They need a place that is safe against frost and prdators. A tall order. So there are not many hibernators here, or anywhere, for that matter. Groundhogs, jumping mice, bats. That's all we have. Farther north where the frost runs deep in the ground there are no hibernators at all; Arctic mammals have to keep themselves warm, keep the inner fires burning. They have no choice. There is no safe place there to let go in.

Winter began this year late on the night of October 27th with an 0-2 curveball thrown by the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright past Detroit's Brandon Inge, followed by much rejoicing.

While I'm not by nature or temperament a true hibernator, my calendar does clear up a bit once winter arrives. Baseball is over, marathon training is over, my busiest time at work is over. We've set our clocks back, so there's no light after work to call me out of doors. Soon there will be no light in the morning before work, either. There's reading and cooking and sitting in the cool front room of our little house, watching the birds. And now it's time to write again.

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