Wednesday, November 23, 2011

November 23: Protection

Big wet snow falling today. I walked to work and then spent the first half hour there shoveling the walk. I also topped off the bird feeders, imagining the birds would be making their rounds often on a day like this. Within ten minutes titmice and chickadees were waiting their turns on a nearby bush whose branches were bent low to the ground by snow.

While I was shoveling, I noticed the frozen body of a woolly bear caterpillar stretched out on the sheltered cement patio, untouched by snow. It had clearly missed its chance to curl up in the shelter of some dead leaves or under a flake of tree bark. When I'd finished clearing the walk and was heading in, I decided to at least move its furry little body off the patio. But when I picked it up, it curled into a ball. It was still alive. Apparently it had enough antifreeze in its veins to survive at least the initial blast of this snow storm. Grateful that now I was potentially saving it rather than just giving it a better spot to decompose, I dropped it through the lattice so it would find protection amid the dry, snow-free leaves under the porch.

Later, while I was working at my desk, a chickadee paused on the edge of my feeder for at least five minutes, unmoving except for its alert eyes and an occasional turn of its head. It didn't seem to be in any distress. It peeped a few times, but mostly just sat there looking around, its tail scrunched up against the window, its tiny black toes clinging to the plastic edge of the feeder. Beyond, trees swayed and rocked. I think the bird just wanted a little rest somewhere dry and out of the wind. Eventually I stood up, and it quickly flew off into the woods.

Shelter from the storm--
as simple as one dead leaf.
Come out of the wind.

Bonus: link to Bob Dylan singing the opening stanzas of Shelter from the Storm. (I couldn't resist!)

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