Thursday, January 5, 2017

Crows on Ice (And Other Firsts)

In keeping with the spirit of a NewYear, I have lately experienced a number of firsts at the pond. It fascinates me that I can visit the same place again and again and still experience something new. (I shouldn't be surprised. This is the work of God.)

Today's excitement? Crows on ice. Temperatures have dipped below the 30s around here, which is somewhat unusual in our corner of the world. The pond was still and quiet; not a ripple or murmur caused the waters to stir. At first I couldn't get close enough to see if the pond was indeed frozen. But when a crow walked on water, I knew.

Although I usually find crows to be brazen and obnoxious, I couldn't help but stop and marvel at their winter behavior. The tapping of their beaks on the ice echoed across the pond as they gathered around clumps of water grasses; here they could more easily penetrate the barrier to their source of hydration. I also noticed that the crows weren't as quick to bolt as I walked the path: they allowed me to come within 5 feet or so. (Not that I really wanted to, mind you. But still. An interesting change.)

The crows were the most noticeable birds today. The water birds, of course, were nowhere to be seen. The only other voices I heard belonged to the finches, flickers, chickadees, vireos and robins. As Avery would say, the robins behaved like "stereotypical" robins. (This is lately her word of choice.) They hopped from limb to limb plucking away at bright red berries as though they had leapt from a charming, stereotypical Currier and Ives print.

I must briefly rewind the clock to include a few other noteworthy firsts that occurred last month. The light, fluffy snowfall on New Year's Eve was decidedly poetic. It was made even more so by the contrast of soaring fireworks. Our neighbors released beautiful bursts into the sky that raced toward the icy heavens and then descended in brilliant umbrellas of color. Never before had I seen fireworks cascading with snowfall.

Another first: (I think) A frozen spider's web. I looked at this picture again and again for days after that cold, frosty, foggy morning.

Speaking of frosty, foggy mornings, did you know that frozen fog at sunrise could do this?

The icy fog particles whirled through the air, nipping at my nose and cheeks à la Jack Frost. As the sun eased its way into the morning sky (at that stereotypical winter slant), a golden arch stretched benevolently over the pond. An additional beam shot toward the apex and, although not vivid in this picture, the colors of the rainbow were quite discernible. I don't know much about light and refraction and such, so we'll once again go with Avery's awe-inspired word choice: "It looks like God threw glitter across the whole world."