Stepping outside at twilight, a whishing and whirling of hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of blackbirds could be heard as the birds were twirling across the sky. For a moment they may rest in the treetops or light on the ground, nosing under dry leaves.
Why would anyone want to steal dead birds? It was the hook that grabbed author Kirk Wallace Johnson's attention. It was the hook that grabbed mine. Johnson's book "The Feather Thief" introduced a world I knew nothing about.
There we were standing in the woods, surrounded by half-eaten and mostly-eaten bodock (bois d'arc) balls. Something had a party.
Sometimes the house feels like it's holding a chill. I add layer upon layer until I think I could hardly bend over, but still there's a chill.
There's the Bobcat "One tough animal"- advertised as a compact, hardworking construction machine. There's the Sebastopol basketball team's bobcat mascot; then there's the bobcat that was spotted across the road from my driveway.
Few things are so calming as sitting in a sun lit room with two cats tightly curled into a ball by your side.
While the guys were watching marathon football, I was reading articles about Three Kings Day, a celebration unknown to me. It started with the Parade magazine in the Sunday paper about an American actor married to an Argentine actress.
Predicted for the new year is plenty of good reads and a lot of running around. For Christmas the Bardwells each received two pairs of tennis shoes and a total of seven books.
Every now and then you find a treasure, something so wonderful and precious you think your heart might explode. There in the pile of library book donations was a small book, maybe 5-by-7-inches. The title, "Worries-Wonders-Why." The copyright, 1993.
The Canada geese are back in the fields and edging along the lakeside; sometimes venturing into the lake, drifting leisurely, foraging for food or avoiding visitors.
A host of Canada geese have remained with us for an unusually long time. Often the birds migrate in, settle for a while, and when the air turns cold, they head further south. But this year, they have stayed.
The deciduous trees let go their leaves, the foliage folded into nothingness and the cold descended like the night sky.
There he sat on the sidewalk, next to the big ice chest. He had a duffle bag and an empty two-gallon water jug. On the side of the water jug, written in magic marker, were the words, "need work." He held in his hands a book. At first, I thought it was the Bible.
Over coffee one morning Sam and I were discussing shoes; maybe I was more discussing and he was listening. I expressed my concern there were so few shoe stores.
Monday a week ago, severe weather warnings were issued for the wee hours. That night, Sam -- the weather watcher -- said, "I'll set the alarm for 1 a.m. and get up and check the TV."
Hallelujah, fall is finally here. One day the temperature is 55 degrees, and the next day temperatures rise to 70, maybe even 80. One night the gas heater gets lit, and another night air conditioning feels good.
Just days before the cold and the rain came we were sitting on the dock feeding the Pekin ducks and the schooling bream. The ducks come at my repeated calling of "pretty bird," and the bream come when they hear footsteps on the dock. We do this daily, like clockwork.
James Wallace is a walker and a noticer. While almost anybody can walk, James -- whom I call Jamie, because his grandmother called him Jamie -- notices things most walkers wouldn't.
I've had some tragic news making each day stretch out like a month. I ordered a winter dress and it has not arrived. It's 79 degrees and I cannot wear the dress, but surely, I could have shorn a sheep by now. At the same time, my hair appointment is due; surely, I was just there. Basically, I am just irritable because I have lost my too-young friends to eternity.
The rains came, filling the lakes and greening the grass again. The temperatures dropped 10 degrees, making the days more pleasant. We seem to be grass cutting and bush-hogging later into the year. Sam tucks away the tractor and the lawnmower for the season, only to pull it out again.
"Maybe one more cut," he says.
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