6:27 a.m. 30 degrees, wind N 0 mph. Sky: in the west, a pot-bellied moon
chaperones a fleet of pink-trimmed clouds; elsewhere, mist lingers over low
spots in the valleys, linear above tributaries, rounded above ponds and
marshes. In depressions, relics of snow on the north side of trees and
rocks, shaded leaves, limbs, and seedheads. Permanent streams: no change in
current or melody; sans ice. Wetlands: lightly frosted reeds,
dissipating fog. Noisy blue jays commute north, against the flow of
vehicular traffic, which has yet to recover from the pandemic—likely to my
sunflower feeders, where they'll join an *aberrant* bobwhite, seventeen
turkeys, a dozen doves, and the fluidity of chickadees, nuthatches,
titmice, juncos, woodpeckers. Pond: mostly closed by a skin of ice, not
thick enough to support thought. Three mergansers, two females and an
immature male swim in tight circles on the north end, freedom circumscribed
by limited open water.
I walk through a cold tunnel of nuthatches, the dominant woodland
broadcast—a post-election fanfare under the compassion of heaven. For me,
the tin horn chorus a celebration, a message of tolerance and forgiveness,
of hope for a rickety world. Chickadees, upbeat in the pines, contribute.
Robins, however, nowhere to be found. A lonely raven below an expectant sky
keeps to himself. Pileated rakes the Hollow, a loud, vibrant proclamation,
a chuckling boundary marker, an audible locator. Maybe he laughs at himself
. . . something I prescribe during times of unmitigated stress.