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  •    With the exception of a few below-freezing days and a dash of snow now and then, it’s been an especially mild winter and, if things don’t change, one that will surely go into the record books. Blame fossil fuel and wood burning, wild animals, livestock, pets and humans flatulating, volcanoes spewing, natural gas fracking, and the further decomposition of organic deposits such as peat.

  •    An authority on rope suggested to me that vines that climb up trees go up clockwise just as the first course of rope is laid in its manufacture. Do all vines go “right-handed,” like rope? Of course, a right-handed vine is only right-handed when looking up from the ground. Looking down from its top it is left-handed or counterclockwise.

  •    Another year has passed. The Christmas bird counts are in the bag. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the cold weather.

  • ­    As the Northern Hemisphere continues to warm up, natural selection will reverse a long-term trend in warm-blooded animal evolution known as Allen’s Rule. Mammals that stay active in the winter tend to have thicker fur than those that hibernate, just as the plumage of seabirds is thicker than that of land birds in general.

  •     An extraordinary event took place on Saturday — the annual Montauk Christmas bird count, now more than 100 years old and among the very oldest in the country.

  •     It is impossible interpreting the present, but you can come close interpreting history. In my mind the history of East Hampton, and for that matter all of Long Island, is much more interesting than what is happening now. We’ve passed way beyond the age of discovery; we might better describe contemporary life as the age of packaging, marketing, distribution, and bad political theater.

  • Local discoveries and rediscoveries are still to be made.
  •     Sunday was a perfect day to take a walk in the woods. Adelaide de Menil and I went to the South Fork-Shelter Island Nature Conservancy’s Sagg Swamp Preserve. Adelaide had never been there, I had not been since 1995 when I led a walk for the Conservancy.

  • We cannot sustain ourselves without oxygen, and we can’t exist without nitrogen either, but too much nitrogen, and the balance of nature is seriously out of whack: Think red tide, brown tide, and other algae blooms.
  • Leaves. We can’t live without them; some of us can’t live with them, particularly so after they’ve all fallen and coated every inch of landscape