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Wednesday, January 26, 2011


caterpillar watching snowbirds

catfish in the snow

Wet snow in abundance, a couple inches. It snows a bit, then quits, starts again and quits. Sometimes the flakes are huge wet flakes and other times they're tiny flakes. It started last night about dark; rain, sleet, snow, all at the same time. It was an icy rain with big snowflakes in it. The state road scraper has been by, turning up big rolls alongside the road. They look like the kind I may have to dig my way out of, but believe I could plow through it if the snow ends soon. The forecast I saw said 1.6 inches. It looks like about 2 inches, telling me it must be over. That's enough.

Heard on the radio Obama "broke the back of the Great Recession." That's another hope-so. The humor is that I feel like it's momentous news--it puts a smile on my face--and at once have no idea what it means. Of course, the whole sentence is metaphor and abstraction. Somebody is explaining it on the radio news, but I can't make heads or tails of what he's saying. "Prioritizing," "in the context of the freeze," "a 30% reduction across the board," "he doesn't appear to be ready to take the first step at this point." Read these 4 quotes as one sentence and think about stretching it to 5 minutes of talk, then you get the sense I got out of listening. Now they're telling about a memory enhancing drug with a side effect of increasing the growth of cancer cells. Might help Alzheimer's. Big deal. Get your memory back just in time to suffer slow death by cancer. Gosh, thanks. Turned it off. At least Pakistan hasn't nuked India (yet).

Snowbirds are hopping about on the snow the other side of the windows. This kind of snow buries their food sources for a few days, so I threw some seed on the snow. They hop and peck. A titmouse, a sparrow, a wren and a red cardinal hop around too. I've never seen a second of any of these. Plenty of snowbirds. "Spread your little wings and fly away, and take the snow back with you where it came from on that day." That day? That day it snowed, or that day she lost control of her car on ice and slid into a parked Cadillac tearing both cars all to hell? That day. Of all the people I've heard sing that song, none come near Ann Murray. I'd guess Jeff Michael could bluegrass Snowbird and make it sound good, like he did Bill Monroe's and George Jones's Old, Old House.

The sun has come out, the snowbirds have increased in number until the snow has twenty or so dark gray birds hopping around on the field of white. They all hop alike, each one in its own direction at its own rate, keeping bird-on-a-wire distance between each other. One flies into the air to travel a foot. If one gets too close, the other gets ready to peck. I'd say they all have very cold feet. When it's this many snowbirds, the other birds stay away. Possibly the snowbirds hop around so fast and so unpredictably the other birds get nervous from fear one might hop too close. Also, snowbirds are braver when it is a whole flock of them than when it's just a few, like gangs. Maybe they keep the other birds run off. Caterpillar on her cushion is loving the show. She says they taste like chicken.

The sky has turned gray, the pink clouds after sunset are gone. Wind is picking up, blowing snow out of the trees. The wind chime is tinging one note over and over. Only a few snowbirds on the snow. They will soon be going to join their flock wherever they roost. I can see rhododendron being a good roosting place for snowbirds, but have no idea where they roost. They'll have their feathers fluffed for the best insulation tonight. These birds will at least have full bellies through the night to help keep them warm. The last bird just now flew away. Time to turn on some lights.

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