Saturday, January 26, 2008

Carolina Wrens.

A strange day, sharp and cold all morning and afternoon but warmer now, clouding over for the third or fourth time today, the birds busy right here at dusk. Carolina wrens all in the Japanese magnolia out front. They're non-migratory, it turns out, which means that the pair that makes a nest in our mailbox each year hangs out each fall to watch us take it apart, schemes all winter about when they'll put it back. We hang a big sign on the mailbox each year: WRENS NESTING. PLEASE LEAVE MAIL IN SHOEBOX. We leave a shoebox out there. I'd thought all along that was our pair of wrens. But by my count we have three more nests alone in the magnolia, all three the same shape and size, and one of which home to at least one Carolina wren. So.

One thing about this sort of winter that I will confess gets up under my skin some is that if it's going to be this cold, or cool—it's not really cold out there any more today—I'd like it to go on and sleet or snow or at the very least rain. Give us something to huddle up against. An excuse for parsnips and potatoes and another reason to walk the rooms and wish for a fireplace. Another pot of coffee, another cup of tea, a wee dram. Gird. Gird is a good word. I'd like to have to gird against things. Batten down the hatches. Stock the smithy. Bank the coals.

Oh, hell, they vote in South Carolina today. May they do so early and often. I've made a terrible, terrible mistake. I've gotten hopeful. I've gotten excited. So much easier to go to bed and get back up without something as onerous as that hanging around the margins. Not to worry, though. I'll get all that squashed soon enough, either this week or next. The weather down there in SC this morning said sleet, which means they've gotten to gird all damn day long. The state bird of South Carolina, for those of you scoring at home, is the Carolina wren.

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