Date: 6/4/20 5:59 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] June 4, 2020: coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
5:13 a.m. 49 degrees, wind E 0 mph, not a ripple across the pond, not a
rustle of a leaf. Slightly foggy, mostly over the wetland and pond, and
along the Ompompanoosuc River, softening and smoothing contours, muting
color; for a golden moment Coyote Hollow shape-shifts into an even wilder,
more remote valley, a resplendent illusion of complete isolation,
primordial North America, revisited . . . four miles from the elementary
school, five from the interstate. Beguiled by beauty, I stand
still, something vital welling up inside me.

As if to echo the sense of time-travel, hooded merganser and seven chicks
cruise the rim of the pond, in and out of a mesh of fog. Sees me. Retreats
to the far end, flanked by emerging cattails. Huddled and alert, chicks
dark with white slashes, like sunlight on water. Hen, frozen in place, her
expressive crest either slicked back or pompadoured; in-between, she's a
composite of Little Richard and a Spartan helmet. To reach the pond, the
ducks crossed the wetland, into and out of a phalanx of brittle cattails
and congestion of stout alders, up a road bank, crossed the road, and then
up a second bank. The pond offers them a buffet of aquatic insects and big
tadpoles, some gulping air, halfway to frogs . . . *bon appetit*.

A hermit thrush broadcasting from the eastern shoulder of the Coyote
Hollow; an ethereal song pierces fog, rendering everything else pedestrian.
Pileated wallops a trunk, sending a message of intent, which reverberates
through the valley. Pack-a-day tanager in oaks, harsh notes, gorgeous
color; Tom Waits of songbirds; screened by green.

Sunlight turns fog into steam, turns leaves into factories, turns a day,
another day, into another gift . . . a world rich that sticks to me with
possibility, just beyond my doorstep.
 
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