Date: 5/10/20 5:30 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 10, 2020: Thetford Center
5:14 a.m. 34 degrees. Wind irrelevant. Three-quarter moon high above Coyote
Hollow, midway between eastern and western horizons. Faint, fainter,
faintest dusting of snow, mostly on moldering leaves along the edge of the
road. No ice. Eight geese pass over the house, northeast to southwest,
trailing their voices behind them. Last night, sometime after midnight, an
owl called from the edge of the wetland. Then, I heard commercial jetliner
in the north, very likely a Pond crossing. I listened until the sound of
jet engines eventually faded away like piece of music. Unable to fall back
to sleep, I considered the plane, only the second I'd noticed since the
coming of COVID. Where was it headed? Who rides the Red-eye? Then, I
realized that these past two months must have been heaven for landscape
photographers working a sky void of contrails . . . clouds and clouds
only.

The walk: business as usual. Road and gullies birdless. I toggle from one
bird to another. Thrushes and vireos have found their voice; the valley
richer for it. Four ovenbirds holler; tough birds; tough genes. Chickadees
hold a meeting in a hemlock. The background vocals (so *close *to stardom):
robin, nuthatches, sparrows, titmouse, junco, phoebe, black and white
warbler, *myrtle* warbler (only one this mornning), magnolia warbler (FOY),
mourning dove, blue jay. And, of course, bittern; whose clipped call issues
from a secret corner of the wetland.

My youngest son, Jordan, who graduated from Kenyon last year, works in the
cardiology department at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and has hooked
a number of COVID patients to various heart monitors. Quarantining in my
house with Jordan is like playing Russian roulette. Thus, making each walk
in Coyote Hollow special, a second-coming of my childhood, when hours
passed for minutes—no worries, no plans, few intervening thoughts. The
coronavirus, at least at sunrise, has momentarily immersed me into my
homeground and into timelessness: such a gift, every iteration of birdsong
a thrill . . . homeboy at home.
 
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