The snowiest January on record for SE Michigan is over, but more snow is predicted tomorrow evening. Not only have we shoveled the record amount of snow, but polar vortices dropped temperatures to record low highs and gave the winter wind more teeth than it usually has.
As usual I’m going to encourage you to go outside when the weather isn’t too frightful. While there notice the way the wind may have scoured any accumulated snow drifts. What kind of patterns exist? Are you able to spot owls in the bare trees around dusk? What animal tracks can be observed?
When you do come in from the cold, that might be the time to read a nature book (or any kind of book for that matter). Start a fire, make some cocoa (or pour a glass of whiskey), and turn some pages. Perhaps some of the following will be to your liking?
The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry. This is less about nature than culture and agriculture, but Berry is a friend of wild spaces and the creatures that inhabit them. The title essay is worth the price of the book alone.
The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis. Simply the most readable bit of written enjoyment about the region I inhabit. History, culture, ecology, Dennis vividly brings the inland seas to your imagination.
Writing About Nature by John A. Murray. Perhaps you’re ready to write about all the observations you’ve made. Murray presents enough exercises to keep you busy and improve your chops for at least a year.
Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible by Ellen F. Davis. Of particular interest for Christians and Jews, but anyone with an interest in agrarianism and what the Bible might say about that philosophy (for those with eyes to see) might like this.
All right, between trips outside and reading inside you should be busy for this shortest of all months.