Date: 1/12/21 8:43 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] January 12, 2021: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:21 a.m. 18 degrees, wind ENE 0 mph. Sky: blue, gray, and white. A fading
pink tinge in the south. Hazy flurries reduce visibility, hide Mount
Ascutney, a dusting on a dusting. Valley glazed. Permanent streams: schools
of bubbles under panes of ice. Dogs puzzle over my amusement. Between
descending rocks, cavities disgorge sound, more bass than baritone, more
trombone than trumpet—the harmony of plunging water . . . gravity
conducted. Where the pitch flattens, water spreads, the sound rises.
Wetlands: across the marsh, dark green conifers outlined in white. Beneath
a run of platinum-gilded clouds, the reeds lighten, stem by stem. And, to
the northwest, sunshine washes down Robinson Hill, light cradled the
saddle. Pond: surface littered with muted tracks, mostly deer.

White-breasted nuthatch in the hardwoods, red-breasted in the evergreens.
Both call. After disemboweling a roadside maple, pileated laughs, harshly
and derisively, a private joke. Flies off like a pterodactyl, the snow
littered with chips.

One hairy woodpecker territorial drumming . . . a speck of spring.
Another softly works a maple branch, chips float down. All around, the
coming and going of chickadees. Then, high in the east, a raven. Woodpecker
cocks his head, then, frozen in place, a knot of wood beached on its limb,
looks and listens with intent, delinquency of duty. An unknowable and
unreachable pause. But the chickadees unfazed, the elegance of
indifference.

Four turkeys scratch for acorns in the backyard; two others scratch for
sunflower seeds in the front yard. In between, inside my home, refrigerator
and pantries full, stove spews heat . . . deep, penetrating, nap-evoking
warmth—whiling away the dark days, the simple pleasures of January.
 
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