Thursday, February 19, 2009
The feeders were HOPPIN' all through the storm. I kept them topped off, with fresh offerings scattered under the bower, the spruces and pines.
When Bill and I planted the blue spruces in 1992, I didn't even think about the fact that they'd grow up to be marvelous bird feeders. The snow never gets all the way under them. I throw a big scoopful of seed right into the tree, and the birds clamber all through the needles to get it, and cluster beneath its sheltering boughs to hide and feed. The leaning evergreen to the left is our Fraser fir from Christmas, bungeed to a post. We'll burn it come spring.
When the sun finally broke out, I went into a frenzy of photography. Dawn colors snow with the most delicate peaches and blues.
This is one of my favorite photos from the storm's aftermath. Bill and I thought it looked like our penguin had skiied into the yard. Actually, the tracks were made by ice, falling off our telephone line just overhead.
We had so much trouble with our telephone line that about five years ago the phone company came and buried it. I saw the phone guy about to take down the homely cable that runs into the house and stopped him. Where would the bluebirds, tree and barn swallows sit? Where would the Carolina wren stop to sing? Where would the yellow-breasted chat land after his flight display? The phone guy liked that idea, probably mostly because he didn't have to take it down.
Our shitepoke weathervane had never looked so true-to-life. Go ahead, click the link if you don't know what a shitepoke is, or why this photo makes those who know chuckle. I'll tell you.
Sun on the meadow was surreal. Chet and I lit out for the farthest reaches, sure we'd find a wonderland.Our ordinary path was filled with mystery.
The little bluestem bent in supplication, making a mounded fantasy landscape, a maze of wonder.
Spiky lines of young sumac pushed up, refusing a snow coat. We're not cold.
Colorado or Ohio? I couldn't tell. The transformation was complete.
The older sumac, its fruit long dehisced, was a flock of dancing cranes.
Smooth sumac still offered sustenance to the hermit thrushes, woodpeckers and bluebirds, if they could get around the snowcap.
When we finally came in, spent from thrashing through the powder and underlying crust, Chet Baker thawed himself and dried his damp brisket by the gas fire that had kept us warm the whole time. Little CatDog. He baked until he was hot to the touch. That's why he's The Baker.
I look out the window today and it is snowing again, temperatures in the twenties, ferocious windchill. A lone redwing at the feeder, too cold to konkaree. Tomorrow I begin another journey--to Honduras. While on planes and in airports, I'll try to finish up with writing about Guyana so the Honduras images and memories sure to crowd in don't wind up replacing those precious things in my addled brain. There's only so much room in there, after all.
Don't worry. I've been cooking and cooking; the pantry is full and you will have plenty of Bacon while I'm gone. But man, I won't miss this wind and these loaded gray clouds; the parka and hat.
Tonight I'll offer a sacrifice to the airline gods, cruel and capricious though they be, to get me there in a reasonable way. Cross your fingers for me? JZ