Friday, January 7, 2011

January Thoughts

This morning, January 7, 2011, the temperature was 0 degrees Fahrenheit at my Waldo home. With a steady breeze blowing, I found things downright uncomfortable. Which brings to mind some old English sayings about the first month of the year.

“A wet January, a wet spring.”

“If the grass do grow in Janiveer,
It grows the worse for it all the year.”

And finally,

“The blackest month of all the year
Is the month of Janiveer.”

I just love those old proverbs. And just because they lie in the realm of folklore, doesn’t mean they aren’t rooted in at least a modicum of truth. More about that when Groundhog Day rolls around.

So given the cold, brisk conditions, I was a little surprised to see an immature bald eagle this morning. It sat atop a big sugar maple at City Point in Belfast. That area has, as of late, become a regular eagle hangout.

I stopped and took a few photos and then another vehicle passed and the eagle flew away.

What impresses me most about eagles is their size. Massive. I wonder if people would accord eagles the same degree of esteem if they were, say, the size of a robin?

Eagles aren’t especially handsome, but they are impressive and a bit scary when viewed close up. Immature eagles lack the trademark white (bald) head, which gives them a raggedy, unkempt appearance.

I did wish the bird luck, though. With the river frozen and all, it must find it difficult to find food. Which brings to mind the fact that besides catching fish, eagles are fond of carrion and will eagerly devour old deer carcasses and so on…not exactly a noble profession.

A few other things come to mind today and I want to mention them here. Last night, I watched a television show that outlined possible nightmare scenarios for our country. One of the worst was a shortage of water.

The presenter showed a map of states that will soon, within the next few years, experience a water shortage. Maine was one of them.

This got my attention, pronto. Maine? A water shortage? Without going into detail, that is the least of our worries. In fact, it just isn’t going to happen, at least not any time soon. We have oodles of water, more water than most other places. Besides our legions of lakes and ponds, we have plenty of subterranean water. That, of course, includes so-called, “ground water,” those underground veins that people locate by dowsing and turn into water wells.

My own well, one of the most productive around, is one I located myself and had dug out with an excavator. I have also found numbers of wells for others.

Maine has no shortage of potable water.

Next and last, I want to bring to reader’s attention the radio advertisements for people to have a star named for themselves or a loved one. In this time of scarcity, unemployment and so on, it seems truly wicked to delude people in this manner.

Please remember the next time one of these ads comes on, that all known stars are already named. This is in accordance with the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the body that governs international astronomy.

Star names are either actual names, mostly Arabic, and those without names are catalogued according to a system dating back to 1603. Newly-discovered stars are given a catalogue number by the IAU. End of story.

Anyone paying one of these companies to name a star for someone is throwing their money away. The only place these names are recorded is in the company’s records…and that’s a maybe.

So save your bucks. If you want to do something nice for someone, give of your time and talents. Or just give them money. At least you will know that it has gone to some good use.

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