Two months along in my residence at Lightspring Glen and I still feel more like an honored guest than the mortgage-holder that the Bank says I am. I think this is because it still seems too good to be true to even be here, to have returned at last to my rural roots after five years "in town". As friendly as people were in my suburban neighborhood, and as wonderful as my riverside cottage was, at times it still felt like living in exile from Nature's ready presence in woods and field. I didn't realize how hungry I'd grown to live an elemental, Earth-anchored life again.
Previous posts relate my arrival shortly before Winter Solstice so it's been a pared down and snowy landscape I look out upon each morning. And it's been a challenging Season of deep snows and many days of bitter cold for my wild neighbors. My only help is stocking the bird feeders and wishing all well from behind my thermo-paned windows. Many days my only out-of-doors time is just that short walk to the feeders and then hurrying back inside rubbing my cold hands together. It still feels a long way off before I can start my woods-exploring and see to rescuing the overgrown flower border. I'm trying not to be too impatient.
Last week brought a brief thaw and a few blessedly warmer days, even rain showers. Driveways at last were freed of their ice and how good it was to go around with lighter coats and jackets. South-facing fields lost some of their snow opening grazing places for the deer. A few days before this warm-up I arrived home as evening was settling in. When I got out of the car, a sound I'd been waiting and hoping for echoed clearly through the dusk. The unmistakable call of a Great-horned owl thrilled me to my toes and I went quickly to the garage's back door, hoping it would call again. Yes! "Who....hoo....hooooo....." spoke the owl and from quite nearby in the hemlocks. "Oh-h-h....." I whispered, shivering in delight. And then another owl answered from the woods across the road! I stood transfixed, eavesdropping on their conversation for as long as I could stand the cold and then retreated reluctantly indoors.
So mating season has begun for these beautiful birds who never let a little cold and snow bother them when it comes to this. On a drive yesterday I cheered to see robins along the road in the bushes, managing despite the gusty winds and blowing snow. And robin-reports are popping up on Facebook (our 21st-century's telegraph), each one greeted with comments of delight and a certain relief. Take heart, the robins are telling us. We are all one day closer to Spring.