Archive for January, 2021

Jan 16 2021

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Midwinter Sunshine

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We waited several days for it. When finally the sky broke open as promised by the weather forecasters, Judy and I went to Colchester Pond. Judy is still passionate about photographing birds, and a few interesting ones had been spotted there recently. But the main thing was to get out and enjoy the sunshine. That’s not an easy thing to do in the middle of winter – not this year, anyhow.

The parking lot was nearly full when we arrived. Evidently, we weren’t the only ones looking to get out of the house. Half a dozen ice fishermen were camped out on the pond. Mostly gray-haired folks like us were walking the trail around it – on a Friday at noon, of course.

I glassed a few cardinals and blue jays with my binoculars but Judy didn’t even raise her camera. She can see those at home. No matter. We soaked in the relative warmth as we meandered slowly along the beaten path. With temps above freezing, Judy actually broke a sweat. I was quite comfortable.

After the walk, we sat on a bench along the edge of the pond, not far from the parking lot. That’s when Judy’s cousin Rick hailed us. We met him halfway between the bench and the parking lot and chatted with him for half an hour or so, keeping our distance because of the pandemic. Then Judy spotted a bird landing in a tree not far away. I glassed it, telling Judy she’d better get a shot because it was a raptor of some sort – one I couldn’t identify. It turned out to be a merlin. A rare sighting. What a fluke! A nice finish to a very pleasant day.

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Jan 04 2021

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The Predawn Light of Winter

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Now we are in the thick of it. The holidays have passed and a winter storm has recently dropped half a foot of snow. It still clings to the bows of trees as I get out of bed and start my day. After an hour and a half of work in my study, I gaze out the window to catch the cool, blue light of predawn. My study is warm and well lit by comparison. I slip downstairs and poke my nose out the door for a whiff of the clean, cold air. For several weeks the ground has been naked, or barely covered by a thin film of powder. Now it looks the way it should look here in northern Vermont in January: blanketed by the white stuff.

The Winter Solstice is well behind us and already the days are noticeably longer to a light-sensitive fellow like me. The deep cold still lies ahead, though, as it takes the planet a while to warm up and cool down. No matter. It’s a brand new year, a new day, and life is good.

The days are getting longer, and I have plenty of work to keep me busy until the big thaw comes. That’s still months away. Occasionally I’ll get out and tramp around in the snow, but for the most part mine is an indoor life until mid-March. I’ll shovel the snow regularly, as I did yesterday, and sometimes that’s all the outdoor activity I need. As a writer I have learned to make the most of these colder months so that I don’t feel bad about being outdoors and unproductive during the warmer ones. It’s a good arrangement, actually. A good balance.

But now I revel in the blue light of predawn. I feel the exhilaration of simply being alive and well. The Earth circles the Sun and the seasons change. I relish the days ahead, as well as this day. It feels good to be stirring about on a day like this, on any day above ground.

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