Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Red-Hot Pokers

A warm and bright day after numerous dark and cold days. I left the library at lunchtime for a walk in Golden Gate Park so as to exploit this unexpected sunshine. There I saw an infinity of red-hot pokers growing on terraces near the restored Victorian conservatory (red-hot pokers as garden plants were popular with the Victorians and pop up in their novels with some regularity).

Local wildlife emerged from normal winter invisibility. Hummingbird above, making a meal from red-hot poker blossoms. Squirrel below, trying to look inconspicuous against the bark of a live-oak tree.

Tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year for people in the northern hemisphere but it promises to be paradoxically luminous here in San Francisco with offshore forces conspiring to maintain a stable mass of dry warm air (according to the best predictions humans can make).