Well it is January, After All

And I was insistent, at least in my head, that I was going to take a walk, albeit a vigorous walk, today, despite the analog thermometer suspended at our back kitchen window showing 4 degrees farenheit, and the branches of the dogwood, the entire 30′ heighted arborvitae, and the dangling bird feeders all frequently flinging practically horizontal in the gusts. I mean, after all, the feeders were a place of feasts today–chickadees, titmice, juncos, cardinals, goldfinches, house sparrows, blue jays, a nuthatch, and a starling all consumed their shares between 7:15AM and 8:00AM. It was as busy as the supermarket the day before a forecast snowstorm! As busy as the drive up windows to any eatery I pass by! So if they are fine, should I not be as well?

And then I stepped outside onto the back porch. Oh my. I get it why down is said to be so effective a heat holder. I am in double socks, jeans and a thick wool turtlenecked sweater over long johns, a crocheted wool scarf wrapped twice around my neck, a second sweater, knee length over these layers, a wool winter coat that reaches down to mid-calf, waterproof, windproof, filled tuck-innable gloves, a wool felt cloche, a second scarf, mid-height insulated winter boots, and I am immediately shivering and rethinking any plans to roam the local roads a pied.

Down as soft as spring sun; as gentle as summer breeze; as enveloping as leaves piled and leapt into. So why did we bipeds make choices over the eons that resulted in our keeping barely a skim coat of that miracle enveloper? What a species we are, we shed all that protects us from the elements, and then use plants, other animals, and then chemical compositions, to reintroduce the protection the elements require of us. I wonder at us.

left to right: chickadee, four sparrows (two on sunflower feeder, two on tube feeder), goldfinch
left to right: sparrow, sparrow blue jay (sparrow on the tube feeder, blue jay on sunflower seed feeder), sparrow on the thistle feeder

I just took the above pictures, now approximately noon on Friday, January 29th, 2021. Would that I had thought to bring my phone/camera to breakfast to capture images of the avian community gathered earlier and named at the top of this post. I would say that noon must be house sparrow hour. But every hour is house sparrow hour. And I will not complain about their ubiquity, because I have learned that their populations are collapsing. So I root for them to return, and return, and return. Along with all their friends and neighbors. FYI: The temperature has risen to 10 degrees. The gusts have not lessened. And these down enveloped birds are undeterred.

However, the cats, domesticated over the centuries, to a less dense fur, appreciate the presence of our clanking, steam radiators as much as do I.

Petey napping
Stella graces me with a yawn.

I couldn’t find Maria. I checked all the radiators. Nope. I checked her hot spot and there she was, bedroom closet, nestled on a sweatshirt that she likes to pull off the shelf.

I have no profundities to add. I believe I shall bid you adieu. May you be well, still, and continue so.

Author: Kate Hemenway

I like to explore, to observe. I like to be within what is around. There is always something to wonder about and to ponder. There is always something.. My favorite ways to get to places are bicycling and walking; or reading, or thinking, or asking. Please feel free to ask back, as I continue to wonder out loud, express joy or concern, or, sometimes, talk through my hat.

4 thoughts on “Well it is January, After All”

  1. Hi Kate, I always enjoy reading your blog. Only wish you had taken a picture of you adorned with winter gear actually so much clothing I wonder if we could see you. I loved your pictures. The photography was so clear and the subjects so willing to be photographed! Thank you.

    Sent from my iPad



  2. Well, the house sparrows are an invasive species and I will not miss them if they all disappear. Of course I hope their relatives are doing well back home where they belong. On the 29th I took my usual 6 mile walk through the woods and around the cranberry bog – even though Jane said I couldn’t go. It turned out to be a great day for a walk. I saw NO ONE and NO DOGS! But I saw a snowy owl! I stopped and looked at him or her when I was about 50 yards away. I pointed my finger at him or her and said I was glad to see him/her. But he or she became uneasy with my pointing and/or my calling and flew further away giving me a good view of him/her in flight.


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