Date: 12/29/20 8:40 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] December 29, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:22 a.m. 27 degrees, wind NW 9 mph. A quarter-inch of snow fell last
night, sugar-coating the woods, perfect for tracking something other than
deer and red squirrels . . . if something other than deer and red squirrels
had crossed my path. Sky: a few clouds in the south, otherwise clear, pale
blue, mauve rinse across the southern horizon. Wind like traffic whooshes.
Trees creak. Lean leaves whisper, thinnest of windchimes. Permanent
streams: ice-glazed twigs and stems thicker than yesterday. Unchanged
melody. Wetlands: frozen tributaries and main channel white threads in a
beige expanse of reeds. Overhead, the chatter of passing crossbills. Pond:
delta of feeder stream closing shut. Newer, thinner ice warmer than older
ice, more sprinkling, less dusting. Snow-healing: long seams fill in,
barely noticeable.

Two white-breasted nuthatches calling in the hardwoods. One red-breasted
nuthatch in the pines. Here and there, a smattering of chickadees and blue
jays. Turkeys elsewhere.

A convocation of gray squirrels, seven assemble on two Adirondack chairs as
if posing for a family portrait. Two male hairy woodpeckers on the feeders.
Spill more than then they eat. Jays benefit—tidy up the lawn, seed by seed.
Decision-makers: titmice and chickadees evaluate the feeder, grab a seed,
and leave—private dining (or provisioning for later), mostly on the black

Winter sunshine, glorious sunshine, pours down Robinson Hill, spreads
across the valley, warms boulders, melts snow, rewrites my morning. For me,
there's no second-guessing. I abide by an ancient code . . . loyalty to
place. Face the sun, pledge my allegiance. On the cusp of 2021, amid
chickadees and jays, and reinvigorated, I take-on chores while imagining
the future . . . a stolen kiss, holding someone's hand.
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