Wednesday, January 26, 2011
...Can spring be far behind?
Despite my enthusiasm about my winter birding projects, and the excitement of seeing so many "year birds," the winter doldrums have slowly been creeping up on me. It's not the cold, exactly -- I can handle cold better than heat and humidity. But I do get sick of having to bundle up in so many layers every time I go outside. There's always that moment, stepping out, before I've walked around enough, where I'm bracing myself for the chill.
But more to the point is the darkness. I love going for a walk after work, but it's dark as Satan's bowels by the time I get home. I stopped riding my bike to and from work after the first couple of snowfalls -- I just don't trust these crazy Bloomington drivers not to hit me in the darkness, when I can't even take refuge on the sidewalks because of the snow. So I'm starting to feel just a wee bit cooped up right about now.
The lack of sunshine probably plays a factor, too. It's been overcast for days, to the point where the ground and the sky seem almost to be reflections of each other, two shades of pearly gray.
Still, there are a few consolations, such as the fact that the pond by my workplace is completely frozen over, allowing me to cut across to the scrubby far side with ease on my lunch break. That tangly, wild-seeming area, which felt so mysterious and distant when I could only stare at it from the far shore, seems considerably smaller now. I can easily walk its entire circumference in my half hour lunch break.
But: it's still filled with birds! Today, for example, I saw a cardinals, a red-tailed hawk, a downy woodpecker, dark-eyed juncos, a Carolina wren, mourning doves, house finches, goldfinches and chickadees--and once I start looking, it's hard to drag myself back inside at the end of the half hour.
Best of all, one of the cardinals was singing. The crystal tones of "what cheer! what cheer! what cheer!" rang through the air. I haven't heard that sound in months. It still looks like winter, and feels like winter, but the cardinal's song shows that something else is starting to stir underneath. As the poet said...if winter comes, can spring be far behind?