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In the Subnivian Zone!

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Strong currents of whirling wind continue to blow here in Nebraska.  But right now, while the wind furiously bats at my windows and plays with our garbage cans (lost one today--who knows where the wind threw it) I remain inside, inundated not with snow but with work!  My wonderful and brilliant colleague, Joy Castro (read her blog!) calls it being "in the weeds."  It's a good image: prickly, engulfing weeds.  

I did learn another good word this week that connects with the image of being surrounded or buried in weeds:  the subnivian zone (also spelled subnivean).  This past weekend, for just a bit, the temps rose (wow--the 50s!) and the mountain of snow disintegrated quickly, revealing patches of green grass and green plants.  How could that be?  Crusty, freezing snow would have surely burned the green tufts to a stubbly brown.  Enter the subnivian zone!  


This illustration reveals how deep in the bottom layers of snow, pockets and trails lead to very warm (up to 50 degrees warmer) comfortable living areas for vegetation and small mammals.  Voles, grouse, mice, bunnies--all remain comfortably warm in the midst of snowstorms and blizzards.  

And so, with this image in mind--I say that I am hidden, working hard, in the subnivian zone these days.  With campus visitors, teaching, papers, administrative documents to write, faculty meetings to organize--I am, as the illustration reveals--in the depth hoar, below the hoarfrost.  What great words!  So it's back to work I go and I wish for you a warm night!

1 Comment

Can you smell that? I sure can. It's the couple about six feet away from my table. They're smoking it up while I'm trying to enjoy a dinner out with my wife and daughter. Wow, is this ever annoying! You'd think they would go get some quit smoking help or something. It's not like it's hard to come by in this day and age. Yes indeed, this is what all the non-smokers are thinking Planning-a-BBQ-Clambake-Party.wps, and we definitely out-number all you chimneys out there. One thing is for certain; we're never going to stop until all smoking is banned in all public places. You want to know why? It's simple; we shouldn't have to be exposed to your nasty habit, because it affects our lungs and health as well. That's not fair. Get a clue, smokers!Maybe you're having some difficulties finding that ideal habit-kicker. Okay, so that's no big deal. It can be solved in seconds. All it takes is a quick trip cyberspace. Punch the keywords "quit smoking help" into any major search engine. Take a gander at all the results that pop up. Which one sounds like it would suit you best? Have you ever tried the patch? This is one of the major concepts smokers turn to these days. However, as you know, quit smoking help comes in many forms. If the nicotine patch is not for you grim-reaper-costume-19, then maybe some new-age laser treatments would get the job done. Laser treatments are done by a professional and can last for months. Squelch that craving for nicotine once and for all. In addition to these remedies there is also a more simple route. It's known as nicotine gum. You can chew it as much as you please. Ditch the cancer sticks and take full advantage of the. Why should your research quit smoking help? DUH! For your health of course. Your lungs pay the price when you smoke like a campfire. Stop sucking all those toxins into your lungs and find a new healthier habit. Before you know it, smoking will be a complete habit of the past. No one will like you puffing away on that cigarette, pipe or cigar. These habits are utterly disgusting. You too will realize this once you've quit. In fact, once you've acquired the right quit smoking help, you will despise smokers puffing around you. It's funny how it works that way.

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