Shirtsleeves to shivers

At seven o’clock this morning it was 41°F. By 10am the temp had fallen to 25°F and stayed within a few degrees of that all day. On the bright side, the outlook has changed and it looks like the next several overnight lows will be in the mid-teens, not single digits.

If the rest of the forecast holds, however, tonight and tomorrow we could — could — get the kind of snow totals we saw here a few weeks ago. That, officially, was a foot of the white stuff, twice what this area gets in an average winter.

Over the last couple of days Deb and I had talked about retracting two of Ernie’s three slides, to take strain off the toppers. Because we got a late start on this day, the weather got ahead of us and we missed our window. So we’ll ride it out as-is and see what happens.

This has turned into the most unpredictable, entertaining and bearable winter of my life. From t-shirts to parkas and back again, I’m really enjoying it.

For most of my 65 years I’ve heard this region called “the Ozark Mountains.” Only after spending time in the area did I learn (and understand) that “The Ozarks” are a physiographic province dominated by three plateaus.

We’re camped in The Ozarks sub-region known as the Springfield Plateau. When traveling east we trace an extended finger of the Springfield until we approach The Mountain, which sits on a west-reaching sliver of the Salem Plateau. To the south, across the lower band of the Springfield, is the Boston Plateau, a lofty and rugged place which even topo-purists call “the Boston Mountains.”

The mountainous character of The Ozarks was created by rivers like the White, the Buffalo and many others carving deep valleys in the uplifted land. As the locals say, “It’s not that the mountains are so high — it’s that the valleys are so low.”

Geography walks hand-in-hand with geology, of course, and each plateau has its own geologic features and types of rock. Because The Mountain is on the very fringe of one plateau and adjacent to another, the landscape has certain characteristics of both.

Typical of The Ozarks, what we see when we walk the woods are sedimentary rocks, mostly conglomerates of dolostone and chert. A few days ago, near the summit, I was surprised to spot a small patch of what appeared to be granite.

I’m no geologist, amateur or otherwise, and I don’t pretend to be. I simply want to recognize and understand what I encounter on The Mountain.

That goes for flora and fauna as well.

These aren’t the glacier-scrubbed lowlands of my youth, the lush and varied hardwood forests I’ve known all my life. This is new to me. Everything’s different.

I’m smitten, that’s for sure. And I’m learning as fast as I can.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB