My lastest Lakeville Journal article, readable on-line with free subscription, deals with the Housatonic River. Fair use excerpt:
I drove along the Housatonic in the piercing cold of the New Year. The steam rising from the river glazed the trees on either bank in glistening sheaths of ice. They call this phenomenon “sea smoke” in the Gulf of Maine, and it arises when water that is cold enough to kill an unprotected swimmer is still warm by comparison to the arctic January air.
The cold streams and rivers of the Berkshires and Litchfield Hills can look like the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. At such times they reveal their kinship both to the urban vapors that rise from sidewalk grates when it’s Christmastime in the city, and to the midsummer wisps that settle in cool fens and seepage wetlands.
The Housatonic certainly seemed to be smoking as I drove past the paper mills on my way north. Not so many years ago, you could tell what color paper they were making by the stain of the water below the discharge from the mill. Massachusetts has some of the most progressive wetlands and river protection laws in the Northeast, but for most of our history we have treated the waters as sewers for the excretions of industry and as convenient dumping grounds for the effluvia of human enterprise...."
The previous article, which ran on December 18th, was inspired by the birds of winter.