Date: 10/28/20 8:24 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] October 28, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
6:56 a.m. 36 degrees, wind WSW 0 mph. Sky: misting beneath a cold, gray
blanket; a vague sense that night has passed. Permanent streams: well-fed
and convivial, visually and aurally beyond summer's drought. Wetlands: a
color-crippled duotone. On the far shore, pine and hemlock an uninviting
dark green wall, almost black; in the foreground, reeds tediously tan. A
landscape in need of sunlight. Pond: five hooded mergansers—two males in
full breeding regalia, an arresting sight, two females, one juvenile
male—circling and diving, a synchronized effort; a bubble patch in their
wake. A male rises with a fish. Others not so fortunate (unless they ate
underwater). Pop the surface like bathtub toys. Crests slicked back like
pompadours . . . quintet of Little Richard ducks.

AOR: blue jay gathering grit for its gizzard. To make acorn flour?

A tuft of washed-out maidenhair fern, pale green fading to pale yellow;
pale yellow blackening along the edges . . . overcooked on the seasonal
grill. Around the barn, shaggymane mushrooms melting, a black gooey,
consequential drip of spores, autodigestion as procreation. The eloquence
of evolution . . . or the joy of self-absorption. The result: the
perpetuation of the species. A Halloween fungus that's far more fascinating
than Freddie Krugger.

Robins on the move, zipping through the pines and hardwoods. Another influx
of red-breasted nuthatches; up and down maple trunks, flying across the
road, tooting in the dim light. A chickadee on a wooden bridge flipping
leaves. Looking for something. Thinks it's a thrush.

Yesterday afternoon, I watched a hawk above the upper pasture, his
maple-colored tail echoing the season. Circling up the vault of heaven,
rising like a column of smoke on a windless day. I thought of how my mother
held a cigarette, of how my father drank Scotch, both firmly in control.
Each a reflection of their world. They ignored hawks, but they would have
appreciated the redtail's ambition, precision, seemingly effortless flight.
Hawk knew destiny. High into an October sky . . . and then gone, pulling
the curtain down behind him.
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