Popham beach, Pond Island Lighthouse
Friday, January 15, 2010
Bald Eagle In A Desert Of Ice
Last night, the temperature outside dropped to zero with a brisk little breeze clipping around. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the stars twinkled. As much as I get worn down by days of clouds and gray skies, at least, when there are clouds, it's not so cold. Without clouds, we suffer from radiative cooling. You might think that this is because the clouds hold the heat of the earth in like a jacket, but that's not true. It feels warmer when there is cloud cover, because the clouds themselves give off heat, which 'radiates' back to the earth. We do feel their warmth, just like the heat given off from a wood stove warms us. Deep space gives off heat, too, but much less than the earth. We are a pretty cozy little planet, in spite of what it seems like in the dead of winter. On a cloudless night, if you look up into space, you can feel the heat leaving your face. If you hold a piece of paper between your face and the sky, you can feel the heat from the paper radiating back to you. The flimsy paper radiates more heat than the deep, dark cosmos. I went driving around looking for birds and beasts to photograph yesterday, but everybody seemed to be in hiding. I could imagine them all tucked away into burrows and snug places, shoulders hunched to the cold. Perhaps they have little sleeping bags or at least blankets pulled tightly around them. To not see nary a bird nor beast on a whole afternoon's outing was quite discouraging and left me feeling even colder. I drove through the grounds of the local summer resort. Sebasco Harbor Resort boasts a golf course, spa, pleasure boat moorings and a swimming pool. The place is closed. All that remains is a desert of ice. The pipes have all been drained of water, heat off, pool empty. There's nothing more discouraging than an empty swimming pool. An empty pool always looks like defeat. But, overseeing all of the frozen assets was this gorgeous Bald eagle. Though it didn't look warm and fuzzy, it did give me a bit of feathered comfort.