Date: 1/11/21 7:56 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] January 11, 2021: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:21 a.m. 9 degrees, wind ENE 1 mph. Sky: baby blue, cloud lines and puffs,
mare's tails, cream white, and on the move. Permanent streams: the passage
of a mink, transcription in the snow. Big night for ice and frost.
Hoarfrost blooms on the end of old seedheads, stems bending toward the
water. Behind icy curtains, under icy floorboards, amoeboid air
bubbles split—a lesson in mitosis—the magic of shape-changing. Dogs wait
patiently; whiskers sprout frost. Wetlands: a sea of reeds, an archipelago
of sweet gale, all tinted by frost. Pond: feeder stream ice zipped shut,
silent as a shellfish. Deer tracks melted and refrozen—again—a nearly
unidentifiable mess. Crystalize bouquets, the weight of terminal hoarfrost.

Noisy flight of doves, a whirling and whirring exodus. Everybody notices.
High crows, low jays. Nuthatches in the pines.

Numbingly cold, early winter. On a spindly crown of ash, a male chickadee
tilts toward spring. Sings. A simple two-note whistle: *fee-bee, fee-bee,
fee-bee*, the *fee* higher than the *bee*. A territorial proclamation,
seemingly removed from a quotidian January morning. An early sign that
winter democracy eventually ruptures into spring autonomy—an audible cast
of the mating lure. Tiny sprout of the coming season, still embedded in
ice. The announcement warms my thumbs. An undeterred little bird who reads
stars, measures ambient light, sings a sweet, simple tune . . . a
newsworthy event that makes a difference.
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