Friday, March 11, 2016

March 11: Perseverance


Just when it seemed spring's advance could not be checked: more winter weather. Snow sifting down like icing sugar and sighs. That clean wet scent; the sounds of squeaking boots and dripping icicles. It's not quite over yet.

Everything is arches on a day like this. In the woods, boughs are bent under the weight of snow and ice, and the tall grasses, their feathered heads heavy, reach gracefully to the ground. The mushrooms that cling to the dead birch tree wear snowy caps, their curves accentuated by the layer of white. By the roadside, slushy puddles meet truck tires and the dirty water arcs up over the sidewalk, and the thick snow curls away from the shovel's blade.

In the middle of the afternoon, a flurry of activity caught my eye. A banditry of chickadees was playing in the stand of birch trees outside my window. (Have you ever noticed how perfectly the black-capped chickadee matches a birch tree? The greys and whites and blacks, the faintest blush of pink. The bouncy attitude.) They flitted about for a little while, bouncing on the ends of the branches, showering one another with tiny snowfalls, half-heartedly looking for bugs to eat, then flew away. Later I saw a bush full of starlings, one sitting at the end of each branch, like the blooms of some sort of avian rhododendron.

On the way home through the park, white-limned branches glowed pale yellow against a darkling sky. Closer to the ground the raspberry canes, all grace and poise, made their own bid for attention, their dark red branches like blood against the snow. A single crow hopped from tree to tree, watching silently as I progressed from gate to cairn to burial ground.

On Dahlia Street, a tiny squirrel, confused, paused midway across a telephone wire, tail trembling.

(We persevere.)

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