October 26, 2008

Cold wind and spray

Over rock

We meant to get naked. But the season for outdoor naked shots is pretty short in my part of the country, and we've already had snow. All three of us women were dressed in layers -- socks, underwear, jeans, shirts, fleece, winter coats. FireAnt even brought gloves. We'd hiked down to a waterfall, a secluded spot perfect for a naked photo shoot, but it wasn't modesty that kept our clothes on. It was the cold October wind.

Even fully dressed, we were already a bit cold when we started the picnic. FireAnt and I arrived first and carefully reserved a picnic table in the sun. Well, it turns out that reserving the table was a bit unnecessary since we were, actually, the only people in the whole picnic area. By the time BusyLifeAlsoWrites arrived, we welcomed the hot thermos of tea she'd brought, wrapping our hands around the cups as if they were minature fires.

I explained that we should be lying on the ground, that we'd be much warmer. We'd be in the boundary layer of the earth's atmosphere, I explained, a microclimate that is actually much warmer than where we were, sitting perched several feet above the ground on the picnic table. We needed to be down in the boundary layer, where mosses grow, and the wind speed is reduced.

FireAnt looked at me the way people always do when I start spouting off science stuff that I've learned from my students at Little Green College. That is, she ignored me as if I was crazy. "Isn't the ground wet?"

Besides, she had already spread a red and white cloth out on the picnic table. She'd brought a whole canvas bag of food, including the best potato salad I've ever tasted. Fireant made the potato salad with olive oil instead of mayonnaise, and lots of dill, with bits of cut-up onions and carrots and peppers, with black-eyed peas and fresh parsley, and I'm not even sure what else. All the ingredients soaked in the olive oil while it was still hot so the flavours blended together, coating each chunk of potato, which were still slightly warm as we began eating. She explained how she'd made it, but I was too busy shoveling it into my mouth and letting the soft bits of potato roll over my tongue to pay full attention, so now I'll just have to beg her to make it again next time we have a picnic.

After lunch, before hiking off to see the waterfall, I found a sunny spot and lay down on the ground to demonstrate how warm it was. FireAnt flopped down on the ground next to me, stretching out in the dead leaves, and then looked over in surprise. "Hey, you're right. It is WARMER."

Of course. My students are always right.

Warmer on the ground

FireAnt, taking photos from the ground, where it was warmer.


little old me said...

OMG that waterfall is wonderful, you are so lucky to live in such a gorgeous place

YourFireAnt said...

The shape of that waterfall has always looked to me like a woman peeing like a boy against the cliff.


jo(e) said...

FA: I've never noticed that before now.

YourFireAnt said...

Actually, at times I've thought it looked like a woman scaling the cliff.