"I heard a bird singIt has been an unusual December indeed. Two snowfalls, granted each was just a dusting, less than a half an inch; but for this area near the coastal waters and the warming Gulf Stream, snow of any sort is unusual and hardly ever seen in December. Our huge, snow of a decade last year, came in at ten inches but it came towards the end of January. This year the temperatures have been much lower, especially in the last three weeks. Last Saturday it was almost balmy and reached 49 degrees. So I started the cleaning of the outside hot tub and as I had it half-way drained, the drizzle began and the temperature fell and then the outright rain came. It was to be below freezing by Monday so I had to get it done. Nyssa was coming home and I wanted it ready to use. It wasn't dirty, really, but two small tree frogs had taken up residence this fall and it took me a while to capture them and "relocate" them to an actual tree out in the swamp/forest behind the house. Somehow the thought of getting in the water once occupied by two adorable but slimy tree frogs was more than even my hardened sensitivities could bear. By the time the cleaning was finished, I was drenched and cold and ready for a nice hot electric blanket in a cold room.
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
~ Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing
At the corner of the deck with the hot tub, I have a curved hanger that holds a basket of flowers and a hummingbird feeder during the summer months. These have been replaced with a suet feeder and a special Christmas wreath feeder for the birds will soon join it. Several small birds have returned from their summer vacations further north, most notably, the yellow-rumped warbler. They seem to love the winter here and puff up quite admirably against the north winds. As soon as the hot weather returns in May and June, they are off.. not to be seen again until late October some years. They have such a lovely voice, but on Saturday they simply watched the crazy woman in the rain with a steamer cleaning out a tub while the rain pelted her face... probably thinking... "stupid human can't even get in out of the rain."
Tomorrow we are expecting more ice and snow followed by rain mixed with more ice.. up to three inches. This fellow is probably hoping or trying to remind me to fill the feeders before the mess starts. He is adorable, isn't he.
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