Date: 12/23/20 7:02 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] December 23, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:15 a.m. 19 degrees, wind NW 8 mph. Sky: clear, a pale peach veneer in the
south, several silver-rimmed clouds in the east. *Here Comes the Sun*, a
much-anticipated event. During civil twilight: feeder birds already busy,
including Ernie the Hungarian partridge, who stands on the stone wall,
fluffed out, a ball of mottled brown faces the sun like a shaman. Permanent
streams: upper, nearly open, aqueous whisperings. Three sets of turkey
tracks—I watched them cross the road yesterday afternoon. Follow the north
edge of the stream and then veer off toward my front yard. Lower, above the
road, sealed shut and babbling; below, sealed shut and hushed. Wetlands: in
a holding pattern, same as yesterday, same as the day before. Cold. Beige
and white marsh. Conifers, dull green and white, snow slides off branches,
smoky discharges. Seven chatty crossbills over the marsh, red or
yellow-green, bathed in fresh sunlight. Pond: night after night, deer track
up the banks and south end, cervid calligraphy. Oldest inscriptions icing
in, ephemeral fossils.

Raven and pileated, both hidden, trade calls. Two crows let loose with a
barrage of *caws*. An ensemble of blue jays, chickadees, and nuthatches,
both species. Hairy and downy on the suet cage. Turkeys elsewhere.

Sunlight unmasks the valley's hidden beauty, bastes the upper branches of
aspens, which appear to smile, an infectious tree sort of a smile. (Not at
all wooden.) Light like melting wax flows down limbs and trunks. Three
months ago, aspen leaves, buttery yellow and in perpetual motion. Six
months ago, scarlet tanagers, sparks in mobile crowns, paused to sing. In
October and June, I took sunlight for granted . . . but not now. Not today.
I join Ernie on the stone wall, my face to the sun, smiling. He runs away.
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