Monday, February 12, 2018

A Rough Life

 Every summer Mom and I enjoyed watching a Carolina Wren build a nest and raise a brood. We came to calling her "Carol" (creative we were not). I've written about her a number of times here on the blog. Just use the search bar.

 Carolina Wrens are common in the Miami Valley year-round and Tom and I have viewed one a number of times near the feeder this winter.

 A week or so ago, I heard a sound in the garage when I was getting ready to leave. I could not discover what had made it but I surmised it was a bird. They love to fly in when the door is open, sit in the rafters and then find themselves trapped there when the door is closed. Even if I see one and try to guide it out, they generally get confused and stay in the rafter where it must feel safe.

Last Thursday (02/08/18) as I returned in the car and opened the garage door, I saw what looked like a small ball sitting in a puddle on the floor. As I drove nearer, I saw that it was a bird.

 I figured it would move as I drove in. But when I got out of the car I found that it had not budged, even though the tires must have passed within inches.

 The bird sat in this wet spot - melted snow - and had its eyes closed and did not move as I approached. Obviously the bird was in poor shape.

 I picked it up - saw that it was a Carolina Wren - and carried it out to the wooden bench we have near the back door. I sat the bird down gently in the sunlight. It was warmer there, though the temperature never rose above the upper 20's. As my fingers warmed the bird, it made feeble chirps - not so audible as ones I could feel.

 Within a minute the bird opened its eyes. I could tell it was coming around. Had it been trapped in the garage for some days, without food and water. Was it merely weak?

 The bird looked at me as if to offer thanks. I came inside but checked back a few minutes later. The bird was gone.

 I appreciate my close encounter with a creature that would never normally let me get close. I hope this summer to find a Carolina Wren nesting nearby. I trust their numbers will continue to increase. I can already count one.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

It's looking a lot like ... winter

 Snow was predicted when I went to bed so it was no surprise to find the morning quiet and muffled as I lay in bed about 6 am. I listened for a car or a school bus to pass. Nothing. Eventually I got up and looked out the window. The ground was shrouded in white and in the sky white flakes still drifted lazily down.

 My phone lay beside me. A weather alarm was issued during the night for a "heavy precipitation event". I heard nothing. At 3 am I am as sound asleep as I get.

 I ate breakfast and counted cars passing on Clayton. One. Two. Three. That was all. School was cancelled and many people apparently had called in to work. Almost nothing was moving.

 We had just three inches of snow. No big amount. And it brings my winter total to a mere 7.5". And yet this is the most wintry we've looked all year.

 At 7 am I stepped outside ...

 The world is utterly without sound but for the whisper-soft tinkling of snow flakes as they hit the ground. It is almost imperceptible, an almost-silent background static that I me barely aware of. It is there only if I stop and listen. Like the ticking of a clock, take away your concentration for a moment and it is gone. It is merely background.

 This maple by the kitchen window is where we've hung most of our birdhouses and two feeders. It is too early for the birds. They are still asleep. This is a good morning to take it slow.

 Looking south from the back porch, the pines are covered in snow. Flakes stick to my eyelashes, dart about like summer insects.They bite in a new way.

 The driveway lies hidden beneath this new blanket. Rising up in the distance are trees more familiar when it is light. Now they are a bit sinister, even frightening. Unlike recent nights the snow is trackless. But it is also new. I usually note birds, rabbits and what I guess is a kitten, hereabouts for several nights. I have seen none of them making tracks.

 Last summer Mom and I bought a picnic table. It was something she was proud of, something she had always wanted. Only Tom and I have used it. Next summer we'll sit there again and share a whole watermelon.

 It is soon getting light and I have my weather to report. By noon I'll begin to see patches of blue in the north sky. A short while later the sun will break through. And, as I type these last lines, I hear a plow pull into my driveway and begin clearing the snow. It is a neighbor, surely, but I have no idea who. He does the work out of love and expects nothing in return.

This is a wonderful place to live. The sky buries us but a neighbor is at the ready to dig us out.