I make things out of white birch,* a near-circumpolar subarctic & mid-latitude tree.
Norwegian Birkebeiners strapped birch bark around their shins to keep snow off, and Scandinavians felt at home in the Northern Midwest because of the mixed birch-evergreen forests. In Minnesota, our Duluth East yearbook was called the ‘Birch Log;’ and my sister & brother canoed the route of original French voyageurs from Montreal to Duluth in (fiberglass) canoes made to mimic original birchbark ones.
Chinese make ‘white birch’ Christmas crafts of resin to look like ‘German’ ones.
I sat next to a Czech agroforester on a train from Prague-Berlin, and he showed me maps of their white birch distributions on his laptop, explaining prompt succession on vacant fields.
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden in Hobart (far southern Australia) has fine collections of white birches and conifers, as well as natives, NZ, Japanese, Chinese, & North American clusters.
(So far on this trip, I’ve reveled in 4 botanical gardens, taken maybe 2000 photos.)
In Queenstown Gardens:
“May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in His works! (Psalm 104 – all)
(When I mentioned this in Australia to a lady from southern England, she earnestly invited me to stay with her when I go explore there next summer, as if to finish the conversation, hungry to connect with the birch she loves, too.)
The southern Southern hemisphere is mostly ocean, so winds whip around unimpeded. Sailors called them Roaring 40’s, Furious 50’s, Screaming 60’s (latitude South bands); and British clippers caught them going to & from Australia.
They feel great, but like on top of Tower of Pisa with 70 mph gusts, it’s hard to hold a camera still.
(wikipedia map; I didn’t take this photo.)
Oblique/slanted light on blue water, ships coming & going,
cool sea breezes from a polar direction,
‘A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.’ (Matt 5:14)
I met a friendly (& smart!) woman also-named Melanie 🙂 at the Errol Flynn Reserve, where dogs leap & compete for sticks;
and Mt. Wellington crowns the West.