1) Earth from Space – From a Guardian slide show of pictures of the Earth taken by NASA and the European Space Agency – http://tinyurl.com/36n76rn


The ‘Island of the Seven Mountains’ (right top) or more precisely in Russian: ‘having seven hills’. This uninhabited volcanic island is also an important nesting area for maritime birds of the North Pacific. Situated on the far end of the Aleutians, Semisopochnoi Island is simultaneously the most easterly and westerly point of the United States of America. Roughly 1,275 miles west-south-west of Anchorage, Alaska, Semisopochnoi has no native land mammals, so it is a natural nesting area for sea birds. But bird populations were decimated after Arctic foxes were introduced to the island for fur farming in the 19th century. In 1997, the last fox was removed from the island to allow the birds a safe refuge again. Part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, the island now supports more than a million seabirds, particularly auklets, according to the National Audubon Society

Rural West Virginia. This image shows the unique conditions in which holes in clouds form. When aeroplanes, particularly propeller aircraft, pass through the clouds, they disturb the air. As the air expands, it cools, and the supercooled water droplets in the clouds freeze into ice. These ice crystals act as seeds for other water droplets to freeze on to. Over time, the water clouds around the disturbed area disappear and an ice cloud grows. The clouds created in this manner take two different forms: hole-punch clouds and canals. The even cloud blanket is pale blue and pink, the warmer tones of water clouds. In the hole-punch clouds, however, we see the iridescent blue signature of ice, surrounded by a halo of clear sky. A similar blue streak from a canal runs across the top left
2) From the Boston Globe’s Big Picture slide show of the effects of the devastating floods that have hit Queensland, Australia – http://tinyurl.com/36tzjoc
You could call this being up the creek with out a paddle:
A wallaby stands on a large round hay bale, trapped by rising flood waters outside the town of Dalby
Fairbairn Dam spilling into the Queensland town of Emerald

3) My favorite song about winter is The Fallow Way, written by Jimmy Webb, sung by Judy Collins.  The only version I could find on YouTube is a home video below.

How do you rate the winter season? From a scale of 1 – you hate it, to 10 you love it.

What is a song, or poem, non-christmas, about winter that you enjoy?

The poetry in the voice:

The poetry in the words:

         The Fallow Way 

I will learn to love the fallow way

When winter draws the valley down

And stills the rivers in their storm

And freezes all the little brooks

Time when our steps slow to the song

Of falling flakes and crackling flames

When silver stars are high and still

Deep in the velvet of the sky

The crystal times, the silent times

I’ll learn to love their quietness

While deep beneath the glistening snow

The black earth dreams of violets

I’ll learn to love the fallow way

I’ll learn to love the fallow way

When all my colors fade to white

And flying birds fold back their wings

Upon my anxious wanderings

The sun has slanted all her rays

Across the vast and harvest plains

My mem’ries mingle in the dawn

I dream of joyful vagabonds

The crystal times the silent times

I’ll learn to love their quietness

While deep beneath the glistening snow

The black earth dreams of violets

I’ll learn to love the fallow way

No drummer comes across the plain

To tell of triumph or of pain

No word of far-off battle’s cry

To draw me out or draw me nigh

I’ll learn to love the fallow way

I’ll learn to love the fallow way

And gather in the patient fruits

And after autumn’s blaze and burn

I’ll know the feel of still, deep roots

That nothing seem to know or need

That crack the ice in frozen ponds

And slumbering in winter’s folds

Have dreams of green and blue and gold

I’ll learn to love the fallow way

And listen for the blossoming

Of my own heart once more in spring

As sure as time, as sure as snow

As sure as moonlight, wind and stars

The fallow time will fall away

The sun will bring an April day

And I will yield to Summer’s sway.