Our City Council’s Public Works Committee, on Monday November 3, 2014, discussed the Hardy Pond outlet channel (technically, the “discharge” channel). As I’ve argued strenuously in this blog, the channel is dangerously silted, and does not have the surge capacity to relieve flood waters. Two engineering studies, eight years apart, have called for it to be cleaned out. The more recent, in 2010, recommended “restoration of the full channel cross section” (which is a euphemism for that dreaded word, dredging).

In attendance were the city engineer and public works director. The latter reported that his crew removed debris and stepping stones from the channel, this past summer.

Yes, you read that right! Stepping stones! That speaks to how high the silt has become. No doubt some teenagers had placed stepping stones in the shallow water so they could walk across the channel, providing themselves a shortcut — one that had become well worn from much use.

The city engineer described his recent success in helping an abutter on the south side of the channel clean up a source of silt run-off. Yet to be addressed, he reported, is a second source of silt on the north bank. Both sites are at point (1) on the aerial view, above.

The aerial view was provided by the City Engineer. It documents his walking tour, this past summer, of the outlet channel and of Chester Brook that it drains into. The channel runs west to east across the top of the frame, while Chester Brook runs north to south, just west of Lexington Street at the far right. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Neither official discussed dredging of the channel, a major project, and one that must be approved by the mayor. But the city engineer did promise to make a more thorough survey of conditions from point (1) on the channel down to point (6) on Chester Brook, with a view to possible action next spring. He promised to keep the Committee apprised of his progress.

Related posts: High Water*, High Water II*, High Water III. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 
1. Flaming | Oct. 13, 2014, 7:19 am
2. Minimal | Oct. 25, 2014, 7:03 am
3. Somber | Oct. 26, 2014, 6:51 am
4. Ominous | Oct. 31, 2014, 7:39 am

1. Flaming | Oct. 13, 2014, 7:19 am

2. Minimal | Oct. 25, 2014, 7:03 am

3. Somber | Oct. 26, 2014, 6:51 am

4. Ominous | Oct. 31, 2014, 7:39 am

1. Flaming | Oct. 13, 2014, 7:19 am thumbnail
2. Minimal | Oct. 25, 2014, 7:03 am thumbnail
3. Somber | Oct. 26, 2014, 6:51 am thumbnail
4. Ominous | Oct. 31, 2014, 7:39 am thumbnail

A “local dawn” is my shorthand term for a dawn sky in which most of the clouds are nearby or overhead, rather than far away over the horizon. As you can see, such local dawn displays can be lovely indeed.

Frankly, though, I’m partial to the latter, the “distant dawns,” which are often more dramatic. They are also more often seen in the cold months of November, December and January, when the sun rises in the southeast, at or near its lowest point in the sky. The third photo, “Somber,” fits neither description fully — it’s a little of both — but it provides a telling contrast to the others.

Despite their relative proximity, these “local” clouds are still high enough to catch the early rays of the sun before we earth-bound humans can see it.

When the rising sun first tops the distant horizon, its rays are nearly parallel to the earth (or more correctly, “tangent” to the earth’s curved surface), thus hitting some clouds edgewise, producing the intense, illuminated colors we so admire. The second and fourth photos demonstrate this effect.

These photos are presented in the order taken, with the date and time noted under each. For all four, the camera was pointed east-southeast, or almost directly across the pond from my window.

Related posts: Cold Dawns 2013-14*. This series includes both “local” and “distant” dawns.

To view slides on this page, click thumbnails, or use left and right keyboard arrows. To open full-screen slide show, click any image, then use keyboard arrows. Press “Esc” to return.

 


Early one morning, recently, I looked out and saw a large spider sitting dead center on a perfect web, just outside an east-facing window. I could clearly see the topside of this half-dollar-sized arachnid, but neither of my cameras would focus on it, preferring instead the intervening window screen.

So, I went outside, stood on a patio chair, and took this closeup of its underside. The low, early sun lit it perfectly. The next morning when I glanced out, the big spider was gone, web and all.

I shot it on September 29, 2014, at 7:45 am. Here, I show it about four times actual size.

Related posts: Spider on Strand*. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 
7:12 am
7:47 am

7:12 am

7:47 am

7:12 am thumbnail
7:47 am thumbnail

Gosh, another high-altitude beauty so soon.

Astronomical sunrise occurred at 6:48 am this day. Exactly 24 minutes later, at 7:12 am, the sun peeped above the high ridge along the eastern shore. That long delay will shorten slightly later in the year, as the sunrise moves southerly to a lower part of the ridge. On this day, the sun rose directly opposite the camera, at east-southeast. The date was October 7, 2014.

The second frame came 35 minutes later, when I happened to glance out the window and saw this magnificent, post-dawn formation. It was too good to pass up.

Related posts: Lava Dawn, September Dawn*. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 


This high-altitude, dawn display was the second such in two days, a repetition unprecedented for the warm month of September.

Subdued but striking, this fiery formation reminded me of lava flow. Increasingly, I’ve had trouble finding names for these dawn spectacles. “Molten,” I had already used, so I settled on simply, “Lava.”

The date was September 29, 2014, and the time, 6:42 am. The sun was still hidden behind the high ridge lining the eastern shore. Astronomical sunrise occurred just three minutes earlier, at 6:39 am.

Related posts: September Dawn*, Molten Dawn. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 


In this fanciful, dawn display, we see high-altitude clouds brightly lit up by a sun still hidden from our view. The subtle colors result from the shallow angle at which the sun’s light hits the clouds, as well as the shallow angle at which we view them.

These celestial delights seem to be occurring earlier and earlier in the year. This is the first I can remember in warm September. Two years ago, I saw one in mild October, thinking how early that was. Prior to that, I had come to expect them only in the coldest months, November through January, when the sun is at or near its lowest point in the sky.

Here, the sun is just topping the high ridge along the eastern shore. It is rising in the east-southeast. By December 21, the day of the winter solstice, it will rise in the south-southeast. The scene was recorded on September 26, 2014, at 6:59 am.

At this early hour, the vapor trails were probably created by military aircraft leaving Hanscomb Air Force base in nearby Bedford, Massachusetts.

Related posts: Lava Dawn*, Orange Dawn*. Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.