Frost kills but life will go on.

The first frost of the season hit in the early hours of Tuesday morning, killing millions of insects and annual plants in Raymore Park. In the earth’s two temperate zones, this annual tide of warm and then cold toughens every species and may explain the survival of life forms on earth after comet strikes and super volcanoes. Using techniques such as hibernation, dormancy and re-birth, plants and animals have devised amazing ways of ensuring that the next generation survives the ravages of an extended period of cold.

Grass edged with ice crystals.

Grass edged with ice crystals.

This morning’s frost is just the mildest of hints of what is to come but the effect is dramatic. Judging by the silence this morning, crickets in the meadows were almost all wiped out but females have been busy recently, each laying hundreds of eggs which will hatch next spring. Walnut trees simply drop everything after a frost.

A walnut tree drops everything after a frost.

A pile of walnut leaves begins to form after a frost.

Elsewhere, many seeds are now ready to be carried away from the parent plant by the wind or unsuspecting animals and humans.

Milkweed seeds wait for a strong wind.

Milkweed seeds wait for a strong wind.

We may share the same latitude as Florence in Italy but our continental winters are considerably harsher and more eventful.

Some would say more interesting too.

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