Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Settling down, settling in

A chronically gray sky sheds white flakes of snow. Squirrels steal from bird feeders. Red bellied wood peckers, with mostly red heads and bellies of white or dun, and flashing blue jays add splashes of color to bare-branched woods. Crows add motion to roadsides and tree tops.

red bellied woodpecker
red bellied woodpecker
Photo by J. Harrington

The neighborhood bear and chipmunks are sleeping off Autumn's overindulgences. Seemingly endless streams of mice hurl themselves into toothless but deadly trap jaws, set to reduce endless trails of turds left in kitchen drawers and on pantry shelves.

For the next several months, the house will fill with the tastes-good aroma of fresh-baked bread, home made stews and soup, and, on a good week, the delicious smell of cookies in the oven. Roof edges will fill with just bloomed icicles that grow and shrink as we freeze and thaw. The front hall hosts crowds of boots and gloves, mittens and scarves, warm, oversized coats topped with a mix of hats.

tendrils of deer trails
tendrils of deer trails
Photo by J. Harrington

Our back yard snow will display growing tendrils of deer and turkey tracks, mixed with splotchy trails of squirrel leaps and cottontail hops. Every so often  the white board will be wiped clean by several inches of fresh powder, until the oaks and the pear tree again draw hungry foragers looking for morsels not yet discovered.

Regardless of the calendar or the number of weeks until Solstice, Winter seems to have settled in for an extended visit. Enjoy the season's slowed tempo, tasty temptations and occasional weather tempests. Although it may not seem so at times, Spring will be here soon, but not until we've shared Thanksgiving, Solstice, Christmas and New Years, starting tomorrow.


By Tess Gallagher 

I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,   
an unseen nest
where a mountain   
would be.

                              for Drago Štambuk

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