Date: 1/13/21 7:07 am
From: Ted Levin <tedlevin1966...>
Subject: [VTBIRD] January 13, 2021: Coyote Hollow, Thetford Center
7:20 a.m. (sunrise one minute earlier than yesterday) 27 degrees, wind SE 1
mph. Sky: flat light, ghost-gray. A stray flurry or two nearly lost inside
the eyelid of a dim morning. Permanent streams: less and less visible flow.
Shape-changing water and air bubbles against the ice ceiling, fewer than
yesterday, more lazy lava lamp than fish school. Wetlands: in a visual,
audible, and meteorological holding pattern (for several days). Solitary
crow, high up and far off—*caw*, *caw, caw*—a digestive rumble. Reminds me
that no matter how tired and monotonous the valley may appear to me,
quarantining at home in the depths of January, no two days are the same.
Pond: tediously repetitive, contradicts the crow.

The ambivalence of sunrise: loosened from hemlock, barred owl sails across
the road, a silent exhalation, like breath on a cold morning . . . appears,
disperses, vanishes. Big bird. Soft feathers. Swallowed by a dark stand of
pine. A *true* denizen of the winter woods. Stays put, accepts what winter
offers. Not a raptor errant. No retreat to gentler climes. Waits above the
road, the trail, the patch-cut in the woods, the rim of the marsh . . . for
the slightest movement, faintest sound. Then, like a phantom, pounces.
Sometimes into the snow, feet first.

Owl power. Less than five seconds, and in obvious retreat. But, suddenly,
untethered from complacency, unmoored from internal dialogue, I open to a
morning far more prosperous than I had imagined.
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