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January 2001
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Shortly after a blizzard

Dec 18, 2000

The wind is howling across the prairies again as I write and the air is filled with blowing snow. The drifts are building higher. It is a curious thing that one patch of ground will be almost bare of snow and on another the wind will build stark drift ridges. It is beautiful in its way but it impedes the needs of humanity. The wildlife is absent at the moment. It was elsewise the other day. In the middle of the blizzard I watched rabbits and pheasants feeding at the height of the storm. A rabbit sat on top of a newly formed snow drift, standing up every once in a while to nip a twig off a bush. Twig secured, he dropped to his haunches, scrunched himself, and nibbled on his prize, his nose twitching in rabbit twitches. Having finished the twig he shook off the snow that had accumulated upon him and reached up for another twig. Elsewhere a pheasant rooster, his feathers all ruffled out against the cold, pecked at rabbit pellets and fallen birdseed. A pair of finches and a woodpecker, their aerodynamics compromised by the gale, none-the-less managed to land on the bird feeders and eat their fill. The wind howled and the air was filled with blowing snow as the wildlife ate their fill as though it were a pleasant summer day.

Dec 18, 2000

I wrote too soon. A bunny has hopped into view across the top of a newly reinforced drift. He seems to be make some small concessions to the wind; he huddles as close to the ground as searches out expired rabbit pellets and fallen birdseed. A pair of finches made a brief appearance at the feeders. They clutched uncertainly at the perches as the feeders swayed wildly in the wind. They fed for a bit and flew away. One wonders what safe haven they find in the middle of the winter's storm. The pheasants have yet to appear. No doubt they are ensconced in brush tangles within the woods. I have every hope that they too will appear. Hunger is a demanding task master.

Dec 19, 2000

Late this afternoon the pheasants showed up in force in the backyard. For about an hour there were somewhere between thirty and fifty of them feeding in the patches that weren't drifted in. The remnants of a garden row still poked above the snow and pheasants settled down to pluck what little was still offered. There were pheasants all in a row, like dark stones set in a decorative garden border. Afternoon wore on and they drifted back to their havens in a grove of trees.


This page was last updated January 1, 2001.

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January 2001
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