bunt sign

Tuesday, November 6, 2001

I've lived here for fourteen months now, and I'm still identifying new species. Today the sparrows and finches were joined in my garden by a Plain Titmouse, the rather uninspired name of a small, gray crested bird that found its way into the birdbath (just long enough to get good and wet before being chased away by the sparrows and finches).

This was payroll day, so I mostly had my head down. And it was much cooler than it has been, so the door was mostly closed. And I'm still not sleeping, so I'm barely conscious of the world around me, which makes for a less than thrilling journal entry. So I sort of identify with the Plain Titmouse, wet and cold and pushed aside. But I also feel a little fortunate to have seen it at all.

I'm hoping it'll be back in the spring, when I'll have my birdhouses up on the fence posts, because according to the field guide, this species will make use of birdhouses. (And if there are no birdhouses available, they'll find holes in the fence posts or hollow spots in the trees.)

Sometimes it's all I can do to believe that I'll still be around by spring myself. I've been dragging through the days lately, and I can't attribute all of the problem to the time change. I just lack whatever it is that makes me want to sing and shout. Right now I'm barely part of the chorus.

I do blame the truncated days, though, at least partly. I spend the few daylight hours working, with no time left to dig in the garden or read on the porch. It's disheartening to think that the days are still getting shorter, for another month and a half, before they start getting longer again. And by that time, we'll be in the midst of the rainy season, so options will be limited even more.

Somehow, every year I find a way to get through the winter. I'll make whatever accommodation is needed to face the dark days ahead without surrendering. It's just that every so often I'll lose the distant light. I have to keep reminding myself that it hasn't burned out, just slipped out of sight, and the only way to find it is to keep looking forward.


I needed a sunset tonight.

Actually, it was a sparrow that chased the newcomer away. The finches always seem more willing to live and let live. They're much too involved in flitting around from branch to branch, chasing each other up and down with exuberant abandon, to mind the presence of an outsider in their midst. Apparently it's easier for some birds to tell the difference between a threat and a new playmate.

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