Date: 6/17/20 10:32 am
From: Diane Brown <deejbrown...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] June 17, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
Your writing is exquisite, like the sweetest notes from the finest violin,
bringing me to tears.

Thank you.

Diane Brown

On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 9:25 AM Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> wrote:

> 5:05 a.m. 47 degrees, wind NW 0 mph. Sky: empty of clouds; a rose wash in
> the south. A landscape photographer would cut out the sky; there's nothing
> there, just pale, barren blue. A magazine photographer might not, however .
> . . an editor could layout a title or a lead graph in the vacant sky;
> that's about it. A blue void . . . except for a goose, alone and silent,
> that passes southeast. Wetlands veiled in anorexic mist. I can almost see
> individual droplets, which collectively blunt the crowns of spruce and fir,
> which hem the far shore. Veeries spin music out of the mist. Outflow pipe
> from the pond no longer drips. A pair of robins, like spotted sandpipers,
> hunt the emergent rocks in the lower of the two permanent streams; pick
> dormant insects that wait for rain. House wren back to speed; rapid-fire
> song at machinegun pace.
> In the front yard, a pair of hairy woodpeckers idle on the trunk of my
> black walnut . . . a *most* personal tree. Thirty-three years ago, when
> Linny was pregnant with Casey, she decided that we should collect walnuts
> from a large sweeping tree that grew on a nearby dairy farm. We were given
> permission to gather nuts, which littered the yard like pebbled linoleum.
> We collected a bushel, the most magnificent walnuts I'd ever seen, each one
> almost as big as a baseball, with fragrant, yellow-green husks, like so
> many odd-shaped apples. Of the approximate one hundred nuts we gathered,
> seven germinated. After Casey was born, Linny called the sprouts Casey's
> trees. She planted them in the yard and fussed over them. Four survived the
> first year. A deer ate one the second year; another died of unknown causes.
> When we moved to Thetford, seven years later, the trees came with us;
> two-feet tall—quintessential slow-growing hardwoods—roots longer and
> stouter than trunks. During the three years that we lived on Houghton Hill,
> one of the saplings died. By the time we moved to Coyote Hollow, we had two
> boys and one tree. The walnut was now eight-feet tall. We hired landscapers
> to transplant it.
> When Linny died in 2000, the walnut was coming into its own.
> Now Casey lives in Colorado and the tree, his tree, that his mother so
> lovingly tended, is over forty-feet tall, more a than a foot thick at
> breast height, and lords it over the compost pile and garden. Sapsucker
> holes like necklaces skirt the trunk. A rose-breasted grosbeak, bold among
> feathery leaves, its breast on fire, sings sweetly . . . a birthday tune.
> It's Casey's birthday today; he and his tree, a pair of
> thirty-three-year-olds. Even red-eyed vireos sound sweeter today.
> The world's on fire, and a flicker lands in the walnut. Yellow and white
> and tan, spotted and barred, black bib and mustache, red-nape and
> gray-crown . . . a birthday bird. I only wish Casey was here to see it.
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