Date: 10/30/20 8:33 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] October 30, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:04 a.m. 34 degrees, wind N 5 mph. Sky: the sun rose unnoticed behind an
ocean of gray frumpish clouds; a decorative dusting of wet snow, down the
veins of Christmas ferns, in the shadow of islands in the marsh, on the
lawn and garden fence, the lid of the bird feeders, metal roofs, every
exposed twig and half-frozen leaf. Permanent streams: flowing at a decent
clip, drought in the rearview mirror. Wetlands: a reedy bowl of inactivity.
Pond: four mergansers, no adult males, an eruption into flight, a sudden
burst of anxiety. Noses to the ground, the dogs investigate a crease in the
weeds. Deep swinelike inhalations. A residue of mink?

Pileated cracks the damp silence, loud and repetitive laughter. Then, done,
as abruptly as it had begun. Robins and red-breasted nuthatches conspicuous
by their absence. On an evergreen teeter-totter, a chickadee, unabashedly
buoyant, upside down tweezing something (other than the scent of Christmas)
out of tufts of fir needles. Seventeen turkeys, more like a herd than a
flock, forage around the garden and raspberry patch, chatting among
themselves—a keen resemblance to dinosaurs.

This valley, this life, both specs on the North America theater. But . . .
they're *my* specs. And every morning, no matter how dismal the weather, no
matter how urgently lazy I feel, I choose enrichment and go outside. Rarely
am I disappointed. Something—chickadees capering in the hardwoods, mink,
rose-breasted grosbeak, yellow aspen on a bleak hillside—takes my breath
away, arrests my attention, makes me appreciate life beyond my doorstep—a
moment alone with the vast, gorgeous, precarious nature of Earth. You, me,
all of us are part of a pale green fragility.

A barrage of honks spills out of a leaden sky. Two flocks of geese one a
wavering line, the other a small V . . . nowhere to go but south.
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