Date: 11/14/20 6:53 am From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...> Subject: [VTBIRD] November 14, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
6:34 a.m. 34 degrees, wind SW 3 mph. Sky: a bouillabaisse of shape and color, pastel pink, shades of gray, white, and blue. Highlights and bruises. Rising ground fog. Permanent streams: bolstered by an all-day drizzle, the soft voice of rolling water. Intermittent streams: puddles linked by drizzle, an ephemeral bridge and flow. Wetlands: frostless and soggy. Yesterday, I crossed the marsh, over the spongy ground, puddle to puddle, past narrow otter trails, and wider unevenly trampled deer tails. And oval beds of flattened reeds where deer spent the night . . . drinking and playing cards and whatever else do where the lights go off. Truancy of birds. Pond: nano waves, like windrows of sand, a subtle undulation. In the shallows, drowned leaves blanket tadpoles and frogs, a six-month nap, metabolism reduced to a tick. Underwater, in the winter, turtles breathe through linings in their throats and cloacas; frogs and tadpoles through their skin . . . a seasonal adjustment fined-tuned over two hundred million years. The unwavering nature of turtles and frogs. There's a lesson there, somewhere, I'm sure.
Forest floor from crispy to sloshy. A dripping world, beyond bushwhacking.
Woods lightly seasoned with nuthatches, a soft fanfare of toots. In defiance of Newton, three red-breasted nuthatches wander down a maple sugar trunk, foraging in tufts of moss and lichen. Then, an encore performance, flit to an adjacent maple and begin again. And again, on a third tree. Chickadees keep to themselves, hushed in the wet woods, but blue jays headed northwest, break through the dreariness, hastily screaming en route to my feeders.
Today's the first day of rifle season in Vermont. Although I am not a hunter, I don't own a gun. But I don't post my land for deer or bird hunters. There is plenty of both to go around. For predators and furbearers, I do draw a line. Several men who hunt the marsh and hillsides grew up on Robinson Hill and have hunted here for decades, often with their fathers and grandfathers. They have a *very *personal history here, their source of topophilia. I won't disrupt a bond like that because I could afford to buy the land and pay the taxes.