Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wow - It is Raining!

Rained most of the night. Occasional breaks in the clouds allowed the moon to fill the woods and clearing with magic. Clouds drifting across the face of the full moon painted mystical shapes and patterns on the forest floor.

Morning clouds filled the sky holding back any light from the sun. Daylight didn’t really arrive until nearly ten this morning.

January Spring --- the warmer temperatures = Spring Thaw? Leaves are seen again in the woods instead of white snow the ground is covered with damp leaves. The air is fresh hinting of pine, fern and moss. Clumps of bright green club moss spring free of the snow. Trailing Arbutus has been growing under the snow blanket, wrinkled and sleepy, the foxgloves begin unfolding their leaves, ferns poke out from between the rocks and fringe a fallen tree.

I can see the earth!

Water is cutting trails down the hillside, small streams – mostly snow melt, pool in the meadow part of the clearing, creating a spongy bog.

The chatter of the little birds rises higher and higher in alarm --- these are strange sounds --- the birds are fluttering around in distress. Not a bird at any of the feeders; squirrels are scolding; no cat. I don’t see anything but a crow perched in the tall deciduous tree at the edge of the clearing. Grabbing the camera --- the crow comes into focus in the viewfinder. --- Oops. Crows don’t have streaked breasts or bands on their tails --- a Sharp-shin Hawk --- A very wet immature Sharp-shin Hawk surveys the clearing. Flying just beyond easy reach, sounding continual calls of alarm, a flock of small birds, mostly goldfinches, circles over the sharpie’s head. Round and round --- while the drenched sharpie sits as though in a daze. Somehow the birds and squirrels have some way of knowing this hawk is young, inexperienced and disoriented. Many of the birds express anxious chatter recognizing the presence of the hawk yet going on about their business --- the hawk seemed to be continually vigilant, never relaxing, constantly turning his head in every direction. Other than its constantly turning head, the hawk sat perfectly still most of the time. Occasionally it did stretch a leg or wing or turn its head to preen or scratch, once it scratched the side of its head with a foot. We watched for more than half an hour before it went on its way searching for easier hunting. What a variety of weather! Mother Nature is cleaning house. A bit of water and heat, melting all the ice and snow in the clearing, even leaving the slopes in the woods bare. Fresh pine scent; the river running full of water roaring along with the wind, which is sweeping the leaves from the forest floor. Yes --- Mother Nature must be spring-cleaning.

Well --- the illusion of spring is suddenly over…. At least an inch of snow by eight this evening. Wind is howling; tree branches bang against the house; by eleven there are two inches of snow on the front deck; wind is knocking the birdfeeders into the house; gusty, swirling, howling.


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