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Bad Weather Looks Worse...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

From inside a window, says my friend Hank from Connecticut. Hank gets out in all weather, and another of my New Year's resolutions (along with "Do More, Eat Less") is to copy Hank. So Chet and I took off a bit after 4 this afternoon to see if Hank's axiom was true.
Chet Baker is not the hairiest dog in the world, the wind was biting, and he was glad to hold his paws up so I could help him on with his new sweater. For some reason (perhaps the fact that it covers his binder), Chet is not crazy about this sweater, and for a while he refused to walk in it. Phoebe cuddled him and cajoled him, and after a few minutes of this, he was ready to go. The power of The Loop is great, and he soon forgot all about the sweater and went about his Boston business.

The colors were magnificent, and I got a rare good look at a wintering hermit thrush in the undergrowth. This is a really neat winter, with hermit thrushes, red-breasted nuthatches, and eastern towhees abundant and easily encountered--a stark contrast to the usual winter avian fare. If only there were evening grosbeaks!! How I miss them! The last incursion we had was 1992. It doesn't seem fair.
With the snow deadening our footfalls, Chet and I dared a good bout of Moving Scooby-Doo, a game that gets rather noisy, and might alert the dog pack that lives down in the hollow. We're taking great pains to avoid them since our last encounter, turning off the trail well before we come within earshot of them, and avoiding the cleared gasline cut altogether. Now, we bushwhack through the forest until we're on our land, and can breathe a little easier. The last thing I want is another encounter with these semi-feral dogs, and Chet agrees. We had a good carry, and Scoob is another leg closer to our house. It's going to be really tricky to get Chet to carry the ball up the steep slope and through the briars, but I think we can do it. At this rate, he'll be home well before spring, and we'll have to start with another toy.

As the light failed, I found some neat microhabitats for an eastern towhee commission. A towhee squirted out of the raspberry tangle as we headed down the path, and paused for a moment amidst wet oak leaves, mossy rocks and beech trunks. Perfect! I want to do a limited-palette painting that will best play up his tri-colored beauty.It was getting dark as we came up the orchard, and the warm orange light of our kitchen beckoned. Man, it's nice to be able to get out every day, whatever the weather. Hank's right--bad weather looks worse from inside a window.


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