baby it’s warm outside

Talking about the weather… it never gets old. I like to joke with folks how I am constantly surprised by people who are constantly surprised about fluctuations in temperature and precipitation. I mean… weather happens, and it has always happened, so when you ask me, “Can you believe this weather?” you’d better expect dead-panned “yes”.

Ok, ok… I know that weather is just small talk, and it . But that’s what you get for asking a scientist! 🙂

Dec. 26th… Can you believe it??? Because I can.

We spent most of Christmas day in the backyard. Barefoot. Playing soccer. Finding woollybears. Watching the bees (the ones that randomly moved in at our house). Soaking up some UV rays. No kidding!

there’s treasure everywhere
They were… not happy. It was warm enough to fly around, but I doubt there were many flowers open.

As for what changing temperatures mean for Indiana, I’ll defer to the scientists at Purdue. They have released several sections of their Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment. Go have a look!

I thought you might enjoy this neat map by climate scientist Brian Brettschnider (@Climatologist49). It shows northern Indiana as having approximately even odds of having a “white Christmas” on any given year.

The day after Christmas, I was at work and took advantage of the weather. I was out by the solar panels prepping the ground for a winter-seeding of pollinator-friendly native plants (more on that in a later post).

While I was out at the solar arrays, I saw two foxes that many folks have seen scampering boldly around the grounds during the day. One is an adult and I believe the second one, which doesn’t have a full orange coat, is a juvenile. It was 9 am and the sun was just breaking above the tree tops, very beautiful. (Just hoping I can catch it sometime when I have my nice camera and not just my cell phone).

In addition to pollinator habit, the native vegetation and the cover provided by the panels themselves should also provide areas for other creatures to use: birds, mammals, herptiles (reptiles & amphibians) invertebrates, etc. I like seeing small microhabitat differences across the site: variations in shade & sun, wet & dry. It’s a great spot for a fox to hunt for mice.

One concern I had as a project manager was weather wildlife would impact the arrays (e.g. chewing on the wires). I was pleasantly shocked at how neat and clean Green Alternative’s installation was. There are few exposed wires, and underground wires are limited to the main runs to the buildings. Like any piece of infrastructure, we’ll have to keep tabs on things, but I anticipate few issues.

Something burrowing underground. Fortunately, there is almost nothing underground for this animal to run into.

Snow or no, rain or sunshine, I wish you all a Merry Christmas season and a prosperous 2020.

I pray that we will have the imagination of Mary, who was attentive to the small things, and who foresaw the lowly lifted up, the hungry fed, and the rich sent away empty.

In a world with a lot of anger, rage, and fighting, I’m pondering the words of Buckminster Fuller:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

6 Replies to “baby it’s warm outside”

  1. Sr. Shirley

    Great post and reflection on this seasons weather and the solar panels. I especially appreciated the Fuller quote!

    Reply
  2. Linda Volk

    “I pray that we have the imagination of Mary who was attentive to the small things. . . ”
    You have hit on an aspect of the PHJC charism. There are many takes on the word attentiveness. Each meaning can go deeper especially as applied to spirituality.
    Dictionary definition Spirituality definition
    to sit in on to be present at

    to pay attention to to be present to

    to take care of or wait upon to minister, to serve

    to watch over in affection and care to love

    to take charge to risk

    to lovingly hold in tension to ponder

    To ponder is less a question of intellectually contemplating as it is of patiently holding the question inside one’s soul, complete with all the tension that this brings. There is a sense of vulnerability, perhaps of ambiguity and helplessness about the unresolvable (immediate or long term). One holds this tension in trust without giving in to a premature resolution. There is nothing passive about this kind of attentiveness.

    Reply
    • Adam Thada Post author

      Thank you for your comment Sr. Linda.

      Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

      I have found it increasingly difficult to ponder. Google allows us to look up an answer/response immediately, at least concerning “facts” and data.

      The landscape of distractions, dopamine-generating stimulations, and high fructose corn syrup allow us to evade the sensation of tension… evade discomfort of a few minutes of hunger, of waiting for another person with no task to pre-occupy ourselves… evade our insecurities & fears & inadequacies. As you note, we jump to a premature resolution, as a result it seems we remain as a whole angry, addicted, and discontented. We flail around, personally, institutionally, politically, unable to satisfy.

      2020 offers us an opportunity to re-commit ourselves to pondering. Thank you.

      Reply
  3. Linda Volk

    My message got scrambled when I submitted it. I will try again.
    Dictionary definition / Spirituality definition
    to sit in on / to be present at

    to pay attention to / to be present to

    to take care of or wait upon / to minister, to serve

    to watch over in affection and care / to love

    to take charge / to risk

    to lovingly hold in tension / to ponder

    To ponder is less a question of intellectually contemplating as it is of patiently holding the question inside one’s soul, complete with all the tension that this brings. There is a sense of vulnerability, perhaps of ambiguity and helplessness about the unresolvable (immediate or long term). One holds this tension in trust without giving in to a premature resolution. There is nothing passive about this kind of attentiveness.

    Reply
    • Adam Thada Post author

      Sr. Mary,

      Your question has me running to the best source, Dr. Whitakers “Mammals of Indiana Field Guide.”

      “[Big Brown Bats] like other hibernators, wakens and becomes active periodically during the winter. On unusually warm winter evenings (temp around 55-60), they may occasionally be seen in flight.”

      “Many of the species hibernate, and they may readily enter torpor on cool days even during the nonhibernating season, as a means of conserving energy.”

      The Big Brown is one of our most common bats, and frequently overwinters in buildings.

      Across all the world’s organism, I like to think of hibernation as a spectrum… ranging from the nightly torpor of hummingbirds simply to survive the cool night, all the way to the more “classic” months-long fall-to-spring variety.

      Unrelated to hibernation, but I learned something new: “All bats of Indiana exhibit delayed fertilization; that is, they mate in fall, the sperm are stores in the uterus, and fertilization occurs in spring. There may also be winter or spring mating in some species… delayed fertilization may serve as an energy-saving mechanism, and as a mechanism for ensuring that all females are bred.”

      Reply

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