Date: 11/20/20 7:12 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] November 20, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
6: 44 a.m. 36 degrees, wind W 2 mph. Sky: a flat, textureless blue-gray
that evolves into an archipelago of clouds in a white sea, mostly small and
smooth, one series gently curved like the letter *J* or the
Hawaiian Islands. An absence of highlights. Permanent streams: ice on
emergent stems and along the rims of backwater pools, gone everywhere else.
Wetlands: like the sky, flatly colored and without highlights. Blue jay
above the marsh heads north, a labored, vulnerable flight, nowhere to hide.
Pond: broken-glass surface, shards and slivers of ice separating everywhere
except the south cove, still sealed but thinner.

Two red-breasted nuthatches toot in the gloom. A pandemic's silver lining,
the joy of staying home for eight months, of being entertained by
chickadees and nuthatches and blue jays . . . back to basics. Three months
from their first child, Becky and Casey, and here I am with birds and
clouds, grandpa's training wheels.

I cup my hands to my ears to gather in the nuthatch calls, slowly turning
from left to right, a self-made parabolic reflector, an owl with external
ears (or an elderly Mouseketeer). The soft, swish of air, more of a
conch-shell experience, does little to amplify the nuthatches . . . but I
do hear memories breaking in the parlors of my hands. I'm a little boy at
the beach. My father gives me a moon snail shell, finger-wrapping round and
as white as a sunbeam. I hear the ocean in the deep, spiraling interior, an
endless roll of the surf—the magic of boyhood on the beach, of blind
obedience to the cadence of life.
 
Join us on Facebook!