City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

November 27, 2016

November 27th

Filed under: Colors, Gambel's Oak, Light, picnic site 5, Stream, Weather — canopus56 @ 9:41 pm

Reflected Tree

3:00 p.m., November 26th (supplement). As the Earth moves closer to winter solstice, sunlight is at a lower altitude than at the beginning of the month. As a result, the angle at which the light strikes the stream makes it and ponds less transparent (see “No Where to Hide,” Nov. 2nd). Today, peering into the pond at picnic site 5 to visit trout, I can only partially see into the water. After hunting unsuccessfully for a minute, I realize that I am seeing two images: One is of the bottom of the pond that is in shade, and the other is a rippled reflection of a sunlit tree on the farside of the pond. The tree looks like one in Monet’s pond paintings.

4:00 p.m., November 27th. Today, the sky is overcast; it has been raining for most of the night and part of this morning, and temperatures have returned to the thirties The reflection in the pond at picnic site 5 is blurred, indistinguishable brown.

4:45 p.m., as I reach milepost 1.5, the sun is setting unseen behind the steel blue and grey low cloud layer. As the sun sets, it illuminates the tops of the clouds, which from below become a patchwork of delicate pink-orange and pink-brown and these brightly colored regions break up the cloud sheets of blue-grey and grey. I am treated to another of nature’s paintings. In a few moments it is over; the sunset line has risen above the tops of the clouds.

Near mile 0.4, another large Gambel’s oak trunk has snapped. This time the separated top hangs to the bottom by a sinew of bark, and a large swath of bark is stripped off the remaining lower trunk.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on a clear night on November 27th, 1855, he notes how the cold November air brings out the contrast between the stars and earth. The stars appear brighter.

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