Date: 12/30/20 7:27 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] December 30, 2020: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:17 a.m. 10 degrees (45 degrees colder than Christmas morning), wind WNW 1
mph. Sky: in the east, hints of peach quickly leach away, a few
filamentous clouds tease apart, otherwise mostly clear. Forty miles to the
south, the crest of Mount Ascutney. Spruce clad. Cold granite. Rises above
the flatness of Connecticut River floodplain, like the Rockies out of the
grasslands. Most days screened by haze. Today, a smudge on the horizon.
Permanent streams: wherever water hesitates, even for a moment . . . ice.
Shapes open water into quirky ovals, serrated and pinched. Extends from the
shoreline. Laminates rocks. Stratifies twigs and stems, thickly layered and
transparent. Babbles loudly on a cold morning. Wetlands: frosted reeds lean
south, marsh a bowl of cold air. Pond: delta closing, three-feet long and a
foot wide. Bound by frozen sutures. Delta ice oldest to newest: thin,
thinner, thinnest. Thaw-lines fit inside each other, a two-dimensional
Russian doll. Four pine cones on the surface. Old deer tracks mutate into
small iced-over dents.

A lonesome red-breasted nuthatch sounds *reveille.* No response. Even
chickadees sleep, a descent into torpor—a world in the thrall of a cold
front.

Last night, I opened the freezer to grab a bag of tortellini. My dinner
idled on the lower shelf of the door, next to a pygmy shrew in a film
canister (circa 1997) and a vireo in a Ziplock bag, a victim of a
window-strike, which I had frozen last August to show my sister-in-law its
thick legs. What lurks in the bowels of the freezer, beyond pesto cubes and
raspberries, remains a mystery.
 
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