February 13th 2016

Tonight is so far the coldest night of the winter: -14 F as I write this. It’s also a beautifully clear night. I wear my heaviest winter coat, good to 60 below, pull the hood over my head, already wearing a wool cap, and go outside.
····cold—stars crackling in the wandering
When it becomes this cold, the trees, birches, maples and ash, pop and whine like the hulls of wooden boats. The iron and wooden bridge crossing the brook behind my house pops like a fire cracker. And the snow squeaks underfoot.
····lives there? — looking into my own
Returning home, the light from inside looks especially warm. There’s steam on the kitchen windows and my own books are on the shelves. My own life, for a little while, is being lived there.
99 February 13th 2016 | bottlecap

2 responses

  1. A nature/human interaction note from Hendrik.

    It’s minus ten here in Brooklin, ME at 7:24 AM and my winter birds three feet from my eyes and 85 degrees distant in temperature (don’t you just love the woodstove?) are putting on a comedy show for me. They’re looking pretty silly all puffed up against the cold, but the most amusing are the junkos who this winter have learned how to use the wire-cage feeders (normally they’re on the ground and snow surface scuffing their tidbits to view). One puffed up fatty has been sitting on the pieplate rim of the feeder, staring at the sunflower seed in the column before him. Quite clearly not wanting to mess with the lighter-colored husks immediately in front of him (left by the mice who gnawed their way into the forty-pound bag earlier this winter), he can see the darker hulls just above but when he stretches his little neck up to reach them his puffed feathers open, and gap, and he scrunches back down to the warmer puffball posture, self censoring his quest for food, in favor of greater comfort against the cold. The insecurity of the junkos on the mesh feeders (their nervousness over their claw grips means half the time they’re fluttering their wings) is apparent but they’ve found out about suet by the tiny pieces that fall from the suet cage immediately above the top cover of one of the sunflower seed feeders, and figuring out that the crumbs come from the cage above them, I’ve actually seem them on the top edge of the cage pecking down at the suet beneath their feet. They leave for the downies twice their size, however, and fairly flee from the four-times-larger hairies.

    • The birds were very busy outside my feeder as well. The flock of finches stopped by and the poor chickadees could hardly squeeze in a seed or two. A cold day to be a bird.

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