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Some Things We Can Count on Not to Change

Some Things We Can Count on Not to Change
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Welcome to the September 2009 edition of Jud’s New England Journal, the rather curious monthly musings of Judson Hale, the Editor-in-Chief of Yankee Magazine, published since 1935 in Dublin, N.H.

Some Things We Can Count on Not to Change

It’s not quite as easy to come up with unchanging things as we first thought…

We can count on certain things in nature not ever to change — and that’s comforting. Right? But wait a minute. In reading the brand new 2010 Old Farmer’s Almanac, officially out for the 218th consecutive year on September 8 (but already available on most newsstands), I was shocked to learn that while Old Faithful is old, it’s not faithful; that those swallows who always return each year to Capistrano, California, don’t anymore; and that Niagara Falls will eventually cease to exist! Is nothing permanent anymore?

Well, in reading further, I learned that Old Faithful can still be counted on to erupt. Just not when you might think it will. While it used to put on its show every 65 minutes — and you could count on that to the second — it can now be anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours between eruptions. And the blowing out of the geyser can last from a bit over a minute on up to as long as five minutes. Still quite something to witness, however.

As to the swallows who used to always return to the Mission San Juan Capistrano on the third week of March every year since 1776 when the church was built, well, they still return to that general area at that time. But now they prefer to roost under highway overpasses near farm fields where they like the bugs and can gather mud for their nests. About twenty swallows still do nest under the eaves of the church, like always. Those few are obviously more interested in maintaining tradition that in obtaining bugs and mud. Good for them.

But Niagara Falls ceasing to exist? That’s as ridiculous as saying several years ago that New Hampshire’s Old Man of the Mountain will cease to exist. (We Granite Staters are still in mourning about that one.) Turns out that the falls are, indeed, eroding back up river. However, only at a rate of less than one inch per year. At that rate, it’ll require 50,000 years for the brink of the falls to retreat another 20 miles to Lake Erie and thus, sure enough, cease to exist. But let’s not worry too much about that. (It’s possible that practically everything will cease to exist by that time.)

Of course, in perusing the new 2010 edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac ,we had to check on this coming winter’s weather in New England. Seems it’ll be colder than normal but with slightly below normal snowfall in northern regions and a bit more snow than normal in southern areas.

In other words, it’ll be “wintry” hereabouts…followed by spring.

And, yes, we can all count on that. Can’t we?

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Some Things We Can Count on Not to Change

Updated Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

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