It is a calm day, finally above freezing. It is also a day to take a break from winter's fury. Though the day has been heavily overcast, there was a moment this morning when the sun shone. It occurred briefly, right about the time of sunrise (8 a.m.) and in the perfect place to allow the sun to light our house.
I was sitting on the sofa entering the daily weather and I rose and saw the sun shining across the field. I quickly grabbed my camera as the sun's rays broke through the distant woods.
I love the apricot hue of the early morning sky, the orange of the sun, the gray, black and white of winter. In the foreground are branches of our catalpa tree; the distant woods is along Venus Road; the corn field lies fallow and snowy.
After breakfast at Miss Molly's Bakery & Cafe (Farmersville) I hurried out for the mail but stopped to look at the bales of straw that I pushed against the outside of the house, insulating the bathroom wall and the pipes therein.
Above, the rain gutter overflows with snow and ice, now melting and dripping on the bales below. Here long icicles have formed. As cold as they look, I suppose they add insulation for the bathroom. The straw will not permit the wind through; the ice surely glues them together better.
And then, while doing the lunch dishes, I watched this white-breasted nuthatch keep an eye on the suet feeder. Two downy woodpeckers were having their own lunch there and he was wary of them returning.
This is a common stance for the nuthatch, seeming to defy gravity. Yet they often perch in this way, bend their necks, watch the world while blood surely swirls to their tiny heads. They launch themselves like boomerangs, are quickly upright and flying.
A red-bellied woodpecker watched, too. He is far more nervous about visiting the feeder, apparently unaware of his own size. If I lift my camera, he is gone.
Even with winter still in full swing, the natural beauty of the coldest month smooths the rough edges of this season. Too soon it will be hot and I'll think back to these days when I might cool down instantly by no more than opening my coat an inch.
Now, nearly 2 p.m., the sun tries again. I see a shaft of light angle across my carpet as the temperature tickles 36°. It is still winter but it is so nearly gone that I can again be brave.