First Day of Winter


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Mid-November and snow is falling. Any gold blanketing the ground has been lost for the year; autumn 2013 is in the books and winter is underway. A good eight inches has come up over the past twenty-four hours, which is not a great number considering winter, but it’s the herald of things to come: more snow, maybe a little rain and then more snow again, but plenty of cold, cold, frigid cold hangs behind November’s calendar page.

I shoveled the deck this morning; a path leading from the house to the rail, and an “access road” that cleared the ground for anything that falls. Suet and peanuts, shelled sunflower seeds, and leftover breakfast is the fare for the chickadees and camp robbers, and this year we seem to be welcoming a new visitor, a black bird of robber size. Amusing to watch, the grey coats will land, dust off the seed in the tray and hop in to gorge on whatever they can haul away. Back and forth, back and forth, all day until the suet and other high-calorie delights have disappeared, they are tireless in their determination to hog it all into the crook of a tree somewhere. I’ve given up wondering if they notice their pals stealing from them as soon as they fly away, but everybody’s happy with how it works out and I’m content to watch the shenanigans and hijinx.

Other mornings the trees are backlit with a blaze of gold and salmon, riches in the sky that make winter the best time of year for coffee and a view. The stillness of this day muffles what I missed of sunrise – white and close, large flakes settling onto one another in a clumping effect to mound and hill and shroud everything recognizable in white and a spectrum of grays.

As the day wanes and the cold begins to seep in, I’m grateful I’m on this side of the glass.

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3 thoughts on “First Day of Winter

  1. I used to not pay much attention to the smaller birds when I lived in the bay – eagles and ravens ruled the roosts there. Surprisingly, there were fewer seagulls than you’d expect but, nonetheless, all the birds were easy to follow. Ravens are curious fellows, and plenty is written about their humor. Eagles can be ferocious – we watched a hapless seagull get nailed for harassment and then swiftly become a meal – and a lesson to his compadres. When I was in the Brooks, I began to appreciate the chickadees and the camp robbers (among others) for their friendliness and fearless appetites. I may have mentioned earlier how I wondered if jalapeno peppers ruffled their tail feathers “on the way out” – they ate them with gusto, right alongside chili with beans. Today I bought two rotisserie chickens for $4 each and as I was tying them to the rail, I was being scolded for not doing it sooner. Bossy little biddies…

  2. There is something about feeding the birds that I find immensely satisfying in my senior years. I can revisit my childhood and get joy from one of the simpler things in life. I’m in no rush for the snow. It will come soon enough and when it does I’ll be wishing I was somewhere warmer. Perhaps some day.

  3. I understand the feeling of the morning with, for me, a cup of tea in hand staring out my window at the snow covered bird feeder. The tiny little birds landing and wondering what the white stuff is and where is the wonderful sunflower seeds that were there yesterday. Why is it there was almost a foot of drifted snow in the drive and only a few inches on the top of the feeder… God truly works in mysterious ways!

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