Monday, November 10, 2014

Seasonal adjustments

Although the wind isn't howling yet, today's weather in and around the Twin Cities is a reminder of the storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald 39 years ago, with the loss of all 29 members of her crew. Gordon Lightfoot created a haunting ballad of remembrance and Prudence Johnson's songs from 10 November also focus on that tragedy. Locally, I imagine that, if our neighborhood bear hadn't decided to hibernate yet, today's snow should convince him or her that it's time. After s/he trashed one of the bird feeders last Spring, we threw it out but then lost track of the need to replace it for this Winter.

bear eating the sunflower seeds and the sunflower seed feeder
bear eating the sunflower seeds and the sunflower seed feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

As daylight revealed this morning, snow has accumulated. Watching bird visitors plus some free loaders adds color and activity to our Winter landscape. Local critters survived for years before we put up feeders, but we weren't here in those days to watch them. Local non-feathered, non-hibernating critters do show up from time to time if we have a full feeder that birds can scatter seeds from. The next time I'm out running errands, I'll remember to pick up a replacement to go in the front yard and hope to take it down before the bear uses it as a tooth pick. Rabbits and birds, but not squirrels, impose less wear and tear on feeders than bears do.

cottontails sometimes appreciate messy birds at feeders
cottontails sometimes appreciate messy birds at feeders
Photo by J. Harrington

I hope you and your loved ones enjoy the holidays coming up, and stay safe and warm this Winter. Remember, it should only be another five or six months until we've seen the snow all melt. El Nino anyone? Or, shall we, as does Patricia Clark, find the best of the deal we have?

Fifty-Fifty

By Patricia Clark 

You can have the grackle whistling blackly 
        from the feeder as it tosses seed,

if I can have the red-tailed hawk perched
        imperious as an eagle on the high branch.

You can have the brown shed, the field mice
        hiding under the mower, the wasp’s nest on the door,

if I can have the house of the dead oak,
        its hollowed center and feather-lined cave.

You can have the deck at midnight, the possum
        vacuuming the yard in its white prowl,

if I can have the yard of wild dreaming, pesky
        raccoons, and the roaming, occasional bear.

You can have the whole house, window to window,
        roof to soffits to hardwood floors,

if I can have the screened porch at dawn, 
        the Milky Way, any comets in our yard.


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