Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 77: Belly-View

Peters Hill, Arnold Arboretum, 6:55am-7:40am
cold, very clear with small bank of clouds on northern horizon

It doesn't take much to inspire a person - the first clear day after four grey ones fills me with jubilant energy.

It is very clear, and dawn proceeds in three color stages. First a reddish glow on the horizon when I am leaving my house, next a pale whitish brightening as I arrive at the hill, then another set of colors (rose, fire-orange) when the sun rises. Tiny flecks of bright cloud appear just above the horizon, like nicks made with a celestial knife.

Winter seems to be a lot about muting of the senses: a diminishing of colors to gray-scale, the quieting hush of fallen snow. Today I realize that the weather has also taken away my sense of smell - not only is my nose so cold I can hardly breathe through it, but the ground and plants are too frozen to transmit smells. I miss the fragrance of wet earth.

Yet birds persist! Today I spent forever trying to capture the sound (and memorize the appearance) of the tiny bird I like so much, who I suspect is the weee-err bird,

but I can never quite see him in the act of calling.

What I need is a special kind of field guide, with belly-views of birds. The guides I have show a bird politely perched, or the silhouette in flight, but that doesn't help me when my little bird is five feet overhead and all I can really see is his belly! (White, very smooth)

So, no confirmation yet on that little guy. Instead, an obstinate and annoyed robin gets to be Today's Bird. He is certainly one of the Northern cousins who has come south - his head is very black, and he's yellow-beaked, a different look than the Arboretum robins of last month.


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