7:08 a.m. 19 degrees, wind E 1 mph. Sky: clear and cold, fog and frost,
ice-sealed puddles. Tonight: the second full moon of October, a Halloween
Blue Moon, first Blue Moon since March 2018; first Halloween Blue since
1944, days after the US and Australia won the largest naval battle in
history. Next Blue Moon: August 2023. Next Halloween Blue: 2039. NASA rates
tonight's full moon a *micro moon* because it's approximately 15,000 miles
farther from Earth than average; supposedly, the moon appears slightly
smaller. Good luck with noticing the difference. Permanent streams: fuller
by the day; rocks free of ice but leaves frozen and crusty. Wetlands: marsh
glazed and bright; frost rimes alder branches and withering leaves,
featherings of tiny icicles. Pond: three female mergansers bunch and dive.
One catches a crayfish, the others nada. Out of the woods and into
the water . . . a mink, sleek and dark brown. Sinuous swimming, back and
forth along the shore. A dive. A catch. A bullfrog. Ducks complacently bold
and apparently apathetic, swim past mink, which mounts the bank and
disassembles the frog . . . the epicurean's delight. Finished, mink
retreats into the woods, a fleeting departure behind a stone wall.
Mergansers carry on, diving and huddling, unfazed . . . it could have been
one of them.
Yesterday afternoon: six red crossbills high in the pines, tweezing seeds
from dangling cones. Call in flight, a distinctive *kip, kip, kip. *Tree to
tree, feeding and calling, always together. Appeared to be wrestling the
This morning: a crossbill flies over the road, several *kips* and gone. A
bumper crop of cones, clustered like grapes on the end of branches, has
been attended by red squirrels since August. I have been waiting for the
crossbills since before maples began to blush. A friend in southwestern New
Hampshire had them six weeks ago . . . finally they're here.
Along the edge of the marsh, a pair of grouse explodes, a heart-pounding
disruption. Three ravens pass over and a blue jay—more nuthatches than
yesterday. Juncos everywhere, white-rimmed tails flashing. Robin calls from
Loosened by the sun, uncountable oak leaves rain down . . . in complete
disregard for all my raking.