Date: 12/19/20 4:17 pm
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] December 19, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:07 a.m. -6 degrees, wind SE 0 mph. Sky: blank, baby blue, a pale rose
wash in the south and east. Heat journeys unimpeded into space. My fingers
in mourning. The roof of my mouth throbs. Permanent streams: upper, hidden
water, frost blooming on honeysuckles, the allusion of flow, barely a
whisper. Lower, the two oblong openings, icing over and rimmed in
hoarfrost, long, feathery crystals, growing longer with every exhalation of
the stream. A hollow tune, more hollow than yesterday, like singing beneath
Greywacke Arch. Wetlands: the heart of the valley. A cold air settlement
disarms everything but stray thought—a white and beige floor; green and
white walls.

Even the red squirrels keep to themselves, silent as stone. Chickadees, of
course, ambitious, a cascade of *dees* out of the alders and Oriental
bittersweet. What are they eating? Frost crystals? Hairy woodpecker on ash,
the percussive language of the hungry. Together, two ravens, wing tip to
wing tip, black in the blue, hoarse and hollow volleys that ride the frigid
currents.

Met a friend for a long Pomfret walk, a challenging morning to be in a
hurry. Off the Pomfret road, pine grosbeaks heard but not seen . . . first
I've heard (or seen) in several years. October 24, 1975: five pine
grosbeaks, life birds, eating Russian olives on Short Beach, Fire Island.
The Atlantic, gray and belligerent, driven by a relentless onshore wind
that stripped white caps off the waves while grosbeaks gorged. Today, cold
and bone-penetrating air replaces a rogue surf. Grosbeaks prepared. Adjust
to whatever the four winds serve . . . which is why I like them.
 
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