City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

January 8, 2017

January 8th

Filed under: Common stonefly, Gambel's Oak, Light, Weather — canopus56 @ 9:02 pm

Stonefly

4:30 p.m. It is nineteen days after the winter solstice and the days are noticeably longer. Somehow, this and the cold makes my body feel best about jogging later in the day. The deep cold of the last few days has broken; it rained in the morning; and, snow in the canyon is dotted where raindrops fell. The Gambel’s oaks in the canyon are again a water-stained dark-brown. Sunset is a distant overcast slate gray sky, but in the foregoing, small lone white clouds are illuminated by setting yellow sunlight. The canyon is silent; I have come to late in the day to hear the birds’ end-of-day calls. Traveling down-canyon, the rain on the road turns in patches to ice, and my jogging is interrupted by slips and near falls. As I exit the canyon, faint light reflects in hundreds of speckles off of the road’s surface where water is forming ice crystals. The canyon seems completely at rest with no active life. But when I enter my car and turn on the headlights, a newly hatched Early brown stonefly (Strophopteryx fasciata) is resting on the windshield. The stonefly is a spirit-lifting reminder that spring will return.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on January 8th, 1842, he notes the earthy smell of newly exposed ground after an early thaw removes the ground’s snow cover. On January 8th, 1851, he describes how trees look larger when covered in sun and illuminated with yellow sunset light. On January 8th, 1854, Thoreau sees a downy woodpecker. On January 8th, 1857, he finds a frozen caterpillar, and on warming it at home, the caterpillar reanimates. On January 8, 1861, he describes how First-Nations peoples taught early Euro-Americans colonists about edible plants and farming practices in the New World (compare Nov. 24th, here).

On January 8th, 1943, the Utah Audubon Society announced an upcoming field trip up City Creek Canyon. On January 8th, 1913, the Board of Pacific Insurance Underwriters delivered a report to the City stating that they would no longer issue fire insurance policies in the city unless, among other things, a 5,000,000 gallon distribution reservoir was built in City Creek Canyon (Salt Lake Telegram).

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