Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Season's swan song?

While walking one of the dogs yesterday, I thought I heard swans or geese or sandhill cranes. When I looked up and around, I couldn't see any flocks against the clear blue sky. They might have been above some of the cloud banks that were drifting through. The sounds were faint and erie, made me think of Ghost Riders in the Sky, although birds, no matter how large, aren't cows, what I heard sounded like the "Yippie ai aye" part of the lyrics. Last night's sky continued to carry clouds looking like Winter's harbinger riding a north-northwest wind.

harbingers of Winter's onset
harbingers of Winter's onset
Photo by J. Harrington

Today, on my way to do some errands, I noticed half a dozen, or eight, or so trumpeter swans on the Carlos Avery pools. I haven't seen any there for a number of weeks, so I suspect a southward migration, but not necessarily a grand passage, is underway . Waters north of us are starting to get ice covered and fields snow-covered, moving birds south toward still open water and accessible food sources. You already know that there are swans that Winter over on the lower St. Croix river, right?

Carlos Avery swans
Carlos Avery swans
Photo by J. Harrington

To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent

By John Keats 

To one who has been long in city pent,
         'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
         And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
         Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
         Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
         Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
         He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
         That falls through the clear ether silently. 

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