Date: 1/10/21 7:40 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] January 10, 2021: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:21 a.m., sunrise one minute earlier than January 7th, 25 degrees, wind
NNW 8 mph (the Arctic's cold breath). Stirs trees, a recitation of creaks
and moans—a morning monologue. Pines need lubrication. Sky: blue and white
striations. Here and there, a pale pink wash. Permanent streams: ice
bridges hide zones of flow, amplify sound. An intersection of tracks: deer
moving south, jumped the lower stream, and, hushed for months, a family of
three coyotes, headed east. Perhaps, to call out the sun and supervise the
day. Wetlands: visually and audibly dull, under the blue-white arch of the
sky, now drained of pink. To the west, far, far away, and well above the
evergreen, a pair of crows commute to Post Mills. Pond: deer returned last
night, more tracks. An overcrowded surface flushed with footprints.
Collectively morphs from artistic loops and sensuous curls into a scrawled
novella. Meaning obscure.

Red-breasted nuthatches, three maybe four, deep within the pines, a run of
jays, through and above the trees, crossing the road from one feeding
station to another. Chickadee on holiday, quieter than usual. Two hen
turkeys under the feeder joined by a trio of gray squirrels. Titmouse,
employing arcane calculus, understood best by other titmice, chooses a
*particular* seed. Disappears into a configuration of walnut branches.
Returns to the feeder. Selects another. Over and over. Always to the
walnut, whose furrowed branches like pantries stocked with birdseed.

I haven't seen a crossbill in a week, a junco, or a goldfinch since the
maples blushed. Warblers, forget it. But chickadees and blue jays and
titmice and nuthatches, I hold them close. They're here . . . dependable
and entertaining. And if a crow or a raven appears, dwarfed by the wide
sky, or an eagle, suspended on board-flat wings, I pause for a moment.
Without them, winter would be far less tolerable.
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