Monday, January 17, 2011



What a delight to spy
on Dark-eyed Juncos
through a skylight
in the snow covered azalea
beneath my window;
nervous maneuvers to and from
tunnels under the low branches.
Winter eider down on the azalea
mimics its pure white
spring blossoms.

The purpose of Fiona Robyn’s “A River of Stones” project is to create/write a “small stone” each day of January, 2011, after thoughtful observation of something. I missed yesterday’s writing (Sunday with family and more snow shoveling to be done), but I thought a lot about the stones. I like the idea, the word, the concept, and not least the pressure of a deadline (I have always loved assignments - a nerd at heart if you will). Nevertheless, my grade for the day was F. Good intentions were my paving stones ---

Early in the morning I watched the little Dark-eyed Juncos busily flitting from their shelter in the azalea bush against the house to a plastic storage bin lid --- a temporary tray on a snow bank near the back door. The snow is eighteen inches deep so the path to the bird feeder (forty feet from the house) was last on the list of priorities in “shoveling out”.

A view from the second floor window looked right into gaps in the snow cover on the azalea bush below. What a delight to spy on the juncos through those portholes as they scurried in and out of the cozy shelter through snow tunnels near the ground. I later discovered that they had a second home under the huge, spreading euonymus bush on the north side of the house. Both home sites took best advantage of the improvised dining table I had set out in the deep snow; hence, my “stone” for yesterday, which appears above as Eider.

Perhaps I’ll try to imagine my way along stepping stones through the water, in tune with the music of the river’s flow. Why not write the lyrics of the river song with every step --- words echoing the click of small stones tumbled along by the water, bouncing off one another, plowing the earth deeper on their way to the sea: not unlike the windswept snowflakes whose unique patterns yield to the warm sun, melting into earth, to rivers, to the sea---

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