Icicles Dripping


Another thaw, warmer than freezing air, snow melting into the frozen ground. I sit on the porch bundled in a rocker, pink cast in a black sling, holding my wrist above the level of my heart. I am still in a state of mental shock and disbelief of what I did to myself. The broken bone radiates a constant feverish pain in my wrist, and the cast is an annoying irritation along my whole lower arm. And now I am worrying about all the radiation my I will be subject to in the next few weeks. Ugh!

I came outside to sit, breath the cold fresh air, clear my head, and try to relax; I am screaming and crying inside my head, heart pounding, pulse fast and throbbing. I wish this panic would dissipate, melt away like the snow. I notice the icicles along the porch roof, glistening in their winter wetness, shimmering in the blue grey half light of an overcast day, and dripping. The tiny water droplets sliding down the rippled icicle, growing at its point until gravity is stringer than cohesion and they fall away to join all the the other water molecules melting into slush on the ground. I zoom in, focus my attention onto the dripping icicles and space out on the rhythmic dripping as the drops hit the snow puddles below. I sit and rock and watch the ice melt for a long time, until I get cold. I think the sun is setting as the grey day has shifted to a darker grey and the temperature is starting to drop again. Calmer and cooler, I head back into the house to sit in front of the fire to warm up. All that water, dripping through my soul, washing the furies away.


Bald Eagle Sighting


So today we got to drive to Hudson, in a snow storm (thank you husband for driving), first appointment of the day was for a permanent cast (yes, I picked fluorescent pink) at the orthopedic surgeon’s office, second appointment was at my oncologist’s office where we made the final decision to do radiation therapy. I cried half the way home. The stress is… Ugh…

Near our house, a few days ago, a deer died in a field close to the road. I believe it may have been hit by a car, got that far from the road before collapsing, and probably froze to death. The carcass is far enough from the road that passing cars don’t disturb the wildlife that have been munching on it, but close enough to the road to get an up close unobstructed view of that wildlife. I’ve seen Crows, Ravens, and Bald Eagles (mature and immature) pecking and pulling on the frozen meat. When I saw the immature Bald Eagle, I wondered if it was from the family that had nested up the creek from the house. It’s only a couple of miles from this field and easily could be within their hunting range.

Today on the way home, as we passed by, my husband saw a Bald Eagle too. I could see individual feathers in its white tail, and the dangerously sharp curved yellow beak, on its large white feathered head. Some of its tail feathers looked bedraggled and dirt stained as well, it has been a rough cold winter for wild creatures. However, that deer’s death helped a Bald Eagle family, and several other creatures, live a little longer in their winter survival story. I’m glad my husband got to see the eagle!

Goldfinch Flock


The other day I saw a shivering winter goldfinch on the feeder. Today his whole extended family and all their friends showed up too! Their little drab olive green bodies mobbing the black oil sunflower seed. They flitter and twitter, never sitting still even when perched. There must have been over 40 of them. It makes me smile when the winter flock shows up. All the fuss and muss and cheery noise. It’s like a part on the bird feeder. The cats sit in the window enraptured as well. I know they will stick around for a few days, then move on to somewhere else, but for now, they are here and they bring happiness on their wings.



Although we have had some bone-chilling cold spells (-15 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning), the winter is actually a series of freezes and thaws. It gets cold, the lakes and creeks freeze solid on top, then it thaws and rushing brown water breaks up the ice and tumbles it downstream. Ice blocks, layered blue and white, coated in rusty brown silt, ranging in size from car to fist pile up along the banks, pile up in the middle on rock bars and other obstructions. When the water recedes the ice blocks make a moonscape in the creek bed. A fairy tale giant child’s block set dumped on the ground and ignored. The ice is fascinating to study, and stirs the imagination; if I were only six inches tall, I could explore those temporary ice caves. I know the ice will pile up more then eventually melt and wash away, but I do like watching the ice pile up in the creek.

Bird Prints In The Snow


Early this morning, I filled the black oil sunflower seed feeder before heading off to work. Upon arriving home, I noticed the snow covered walkway to the front stairs was completely trampled by tiny bird feet. I looked around, the whole area around the feeder, the paving stone at the bottom of the stairs, the path, and even a large portion of the driveway was covered in small bird prints. There were so many of them, tracks on top of tracks, that individual prints were completely indiscernible. Also, the black oil seed feeder is empty! The Goldfinch flock has definitely been here! When I finally came inside, my husband asked if I had seen all the bird tracks in the snow. He was amazed at how a group of small birds could make an area of snow look thoroughly trampled. Twenty or so tiny birds fluttering around non-stop for a few hours until the feeder is empty will do that. I imagine their twittering and rustling. I have not seen the flock yet, but they are obviously here.



This morning when looking out the front window to see the early birds on the feeder, there was a small drab dark olive colored bird with a wing bar. Oh cool! The winter Goldfinch flock is here!

Many years ago when I first saw a winter Goldfinch, I spent over an hour pouring through bird guides trying to figure out what it was. I unsatisfactorily settled on some sort of gnat-catcher because of its color and size. But many other factors did not fit, such as time of year and what it was eating. The mysterious birds stayed a few days and then left. Later in the spring, I saw more of them, but now they were in various stages of changing color into their summer plumage. Aha! Not gnat-catchers, but Goldfinches!

Every winter a flock shows up for a couple of days, cleans out the feeders every day they are here, then moves on to somewhere else. It is a joy to receive the annual visit of the winter Goldfinches. Spring is still a long way off, but these little birds know how to party in the bird world, even in sub-zero temperatures apparently. This morning there is only one little finch, but I suspect it will have plenty of friends very soon.

Creek Crossing


Walking up the hollow and back, a peaceful two mile walk that takes me up a narrow, twisting, steep one lane dirt road along a steep, narrow, rocky, plunging creek that empties into the bigger creek we live next to. The deep freeze of this winter has both creeks completely frozen over with fantastical ice formations. As I walked by an area where the creek runs wide, shallow, and flat for a few yards, I notice the ice is snow covered and down the middle of it is a line of foot prints in the snow. There are many animals active in these woods in January and I’ve seen numerous prints in the snow while walking here. I can not easily (or safely) get off the road and down to the creek to examine the prints, but from up here I am guessing deer. The line starts upstream a little ways and from the other side, the steps go around a couple of rocks and then head straight downstream until the flat area of creek slides downhill again where the prints disappear into the forest from whence they came. On the way home, I stop on the bridge over the larger creek where the road gets a little wider and turns to pavement. There I see several strings of tracks crossing the ice over the swimming hole. Coyote maybe, as they look dog like from the bridge, and I have heard them howling mournfully and yipping in the night recently. Where are they now, all those coyote and deer on this cold darkening evening? Do they hide in the woods and see me slip quietly past on the road, while I only see the impressions of where they used to be?