Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Bonfires of Winter


Brush clearing is a typical winter activity for prairie restoration groups in the Chicago area. Others have blogged about it. We have come out of our bitterly cold spell of late last week (meaning it has gotten into the teens). Still, yesterday's stiff southwest breeze resulted in a wind chill of -3° F and had the Bluff Spring Fen folks in agreement about one thing. Whatever we did on our work day, it would have to involve a bonfire. We had a good one, too. Between the fire and the exertion, we stayed nice and toasty all day. Plus, we accomplished a lot.


The bonfires of winter exemplify one aspect of prairie restoration that I really like. In our modern world we often go from heated (or air conditioned) car to heated (or air conditioned) office, eat strawberries in January, and generally lack a fullness in awareness of the seasons. Prairie work is a great way to connect with the ebb and flow rhythm of nature through the year.

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5 Comments:

At 17:16, Anonymous Pablo said...

If Thoreau were alive today, I think he'd be appalled by how well most people insulate themselves from even the most minor inconvenience of the natural world. While I don't think he'd advocate anything dangerous, I do think he'd encourage everyone to experience the seasons fully.

 
At 20:22, Blogger Ur-spo said...

What thrills ya more - burning things or tiger beetles?

 
At 00:09, Blogger SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A good days work there Doug. One of those necessary evils. In all my travels around the USA, I will always remember Chicago as the place where I got the coldest. :)

 
At 14:02, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Pablo- I agree. I also cheat in many ways, including flying away to escape from part of winter almost every year.

Spo- I have to pick? Tiger beetles thrill me more than burning brush piles but less than a full-on prairie burn.

Well, there are colder places than Chicago. It gets pretty hot here in the summertime, too.

 
At 16:35, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

I like the idea of a bonfire. It looks like fun to me. Its been a long time since I've attended one. How nice to combine work with pleasure!

 

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