Water Closet for February 19, 2016
[pullquote]”Elaine Gauthier, a friend of the Middleton Stream Team and a prize winner in the team’s annual photography contests, went forth in the waning light with camera.”[/pullquote] In 1991 out on the North Atlantic fishermen were caught up in a combination of storms that became larger than the sum of all three. Meteorologists were beside themselves with excitement. Some called it a “perfect storm”. Writer Sebastian Junger took this name and facts about the storm and ran with them, some thought too far. Many read his book The Perfect Storm and saw the hit movie.
On Friday February 5th, 2016, we had a very different kind of perfect storm here in the opinion of many who went out to marvel at the wonders left behind. After a warm week more like early November than February, snow on soft winds fell from cold clouds. It entered mild air in the mid-thirty degrees near the ground. Flakes landed on warm branches, evergreen leaves, and all else exposed. The first flakes melted leaving wet surfaces. After awhile accumulation began as new flakes fell. As the light faded the temperature slowly dropped and the layers got thicker, branches bent. As the snowfall slacked off in the evening, Elaine Gauthier, a friend of the Middleton Stream Team and a prize winner in the team’s annual photography contests, went forth in the waning light with camera. She recognized with out ever saying so that the storm was one for artists. She felt it. Mother Nature had brought the right conditions together as she sometimes does for winter shows. This time they were perfect. Mother Nature out did herself with air brushes, wet canvases, and pigment of the right consistency. In the early evening while there was still precious light Elaine took many photos. None caught Mother Nature, just her creations. Upon receiving fine images of a few from Elaine, and from Pam Hartman who went out next morning, some of us were reminded of beautiful Indian sand paintings destined to live only a short while. Those of sand or snow soon join the sky and land, one as dust, the other as water molecules.
Sand paintings made by men and sculptures by breezes, snow and trees seem different and of course are. However, the poet might say both much involve spirits who inspire the human creators and produce the variables measured by scientists. The former would see mystery. Many in the words of Iris Dement would sing, as she so beautifully does, “Let the mystery be”; the scientists would want to solve the mystery. We see no need for those in art, religion and science to fight. As the late Steven Jay Gould famously argued, artists and scientists occupy two Non-Overlapping Magisteria.* One is spiritual and artistic, the other scientific. He viewed both as legitimate, valuable ways to view nature. Many disagree with the non-overlapping part of his division. America’s worldwide beloved examples are jazz musicians. Their instruments and notes can be explained by physics, the music that pours forth cannot as yet. Those in most artistic fields could claim the same. Then of course many scientists are artists and spiritual on the side. Elaine with her technical camera lenses and digital circuits points with her soul and records scenes in which some see spirits, others lovely scientific facts, some both. We in the Water Closet think many live in both magisteria and shouldn’t fuss too much about it.
* Gould (1941 to 2002) famous paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and superb essayist for the Natural History Magazine put forth the idea in a 1997 essay entitled “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”. Magisterium is a word from the Roman Catholic Church about its authority. Gould adds another magisterium and defines the word as “a domain where one form of teaching holds the appropriate tools for meaningful discourse and resolution. . . . Science tries to document the factual character of the natural world . . . Religion, on the other hand operates . . . in the realm of human purposes, meanings and values . . .”.
______________________________________________________________________________WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD`
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:||Nov||Dec||Jan||Feb|
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches||4.55||4.12||3.40||3.25|
|2015/2016 Central Watershed Actual||2.49||4.72||3.31||1.4**as of Feb 15|
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For Feb 15, 2016 Normal . . . 61 CFS Current Rate . . . 27 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru Jan.
**Middleton Stream Team is source of actual precipitation data for Feb.
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584