Date: 5/20/20 6:21 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] May 20, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:13 a.m. 38 degrees, wind NNW 1 mph, on life support. Sky: clear and
rose-petal pink in the south; pale blue in the north. Shallowest
intermittent streams reduced thrumb prints, long and narrow; deeper ones
whisper, their current barely visible. Mist rises out of the pond,
dissipates in the cool air; veils the wetland softens color . . . the
valley's gentle exhalation. Barred owl, close by, its hollow, rhythmic
voice echoing off the hills. Coyote Hollow, again and again and once again,
the embodiment of Zen stillness. For the moment, there is no place I'd
rather be.

Awakening woodland a fount of life: wood thrush; chestnut-sided warbler;
common yellowthroat; black and white warbler; American redstart; winter
wren, picking up the musical slack; house wren, animated as ever;
red-eyed-vireo; blue-headed vireo; eastern phoebe; least flycatcher; great
crested flycatcher (FOY), not seen (or heard) since pre-COVID jungle
rambles in Costa Rica; white-throated sparrow; song sparrow; tufted
titmouse, especially loud; black-capped chickadee, especially admonishing
*dee-dee-dee-dee*; American goldfinch, yolk yellow; American bittern; wild
turkey. A handful of peepers.

Female sapsucker quietly works maple for the fifth day in a row. A pair of
wood thrush chase each other through streamside shrubs. One pauses to sing.
Theodore Roosevelt, from his Northshore home on Sagamore Hill, declared,
"Our most beautiful singers are the wood thrushes." He should have
traipsed across the Long Island pine barrens with Whitman, where the poet
and the hermit thrush had intimate dealings. At the moment, here in Coyote
Hollow, it's all wood thrush; hermits having secreted themselves away in
the cups of elaborate ground nests, warming pale blue eggs, maybe, feeding
helpless, grotesque-looking chicks.

A chestnut-side warbler croons in aspen. Bird and canopy touched by first
rays of sunlight, everything below in shade. Picks inchworms off delicate
leaves then expresses himself . . . *pleased, pleased, pleased to MEET-YA*.
Charismatic microfauna—white cheeks, yellow crown, chestnut sides framing
an otherwise immaculately white belly and breast. Warbler glowing in
infant light amid infant leaves . . . the sweet spot of the morning.

How fortunate I am to wander out my front door into a beckoning landscape.
Here living things have meaning in terms of what they do. Rhetorically,
Yeats wondered, *How can we know the dancer from the dance?* Had been
standing with me this morning on the edge of this dirt road, in this little
valley in east-central, Vermont, one of ten thousand—a random valley,
culled by me only because I live here—he might have written, *How can we
know the light from the bird?*
 
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