Eft Return

My favorite harbinger of spring, the red eft, has returned. I had my first sighting of the season on a little-used dirt road on a cold and chilly run this evening and stopped long enough to snap a picture.

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I say harbinger of spring, but nightfall has brought a drop in temperature and turned the rain to snow. We may have as much as two inches by morning. Fickle season, this one.

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Rejoice!

Rejoice, for spring is nigh!

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I’ve been seeing so many photos of plucky flowers in my social media feeds and today I ventured back to our south-facing side and there they were: daffodils and tulips sprouting where the snow has just receded. We have them too!

And for the past two nights I’ve heard the earliest of the peepers gargling in the swampy scrub down by the road.

It’s been a long winter so these springtime arrivals are more welcome than usual.

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The Greatest Adventure

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I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog. Mostly because my lens on the world has temporarily narrowed focus. I spend my days and nights with Dylan and I’m absolutely loving it. But I didn’t start this blog to bore people with the minutiae of caring for an infant. I started it to help myself feel less restless now that I travel less, to find adventure in the commonplace and to see new things in the places I return to day in and day out.

Having a baby qualifies, in many ways, as the ultimate adventure. And finding the wonder in repetition, when your child wants the same book read seven times a night, or when you’re changing yet another dirty diaper, can be a challenge, or so I’m told. Perfect for this blog’s mission. But right now I’m filled with constant wonder and emotion. Every yawn, every smile, every hour spent watching his sleeping face feels like a miracle. Just singing him a lullaby, one of the ones my parents sang to me, gets me choked up. And I think it’s newsworthy to report each inch grown or pound gained. (He’s nearly 14 pounds now. See?)

So I have no perspective. Or rather, I have only this one very narrow perspective. So I’m holding back until I reach more equilibrium.

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To that end, though, I do have a couple of bird sightings to report. When it’s warmer than about 20 degrees outside (today doesn’t qualify) I can take Dylan out into the woods. And sometimes I am able to tear myself away from the baby and head into the woods alone with Oliver. The reservoir we walk around is frozen over but there’s still some activity. A hundred or so ducks have been hanging around in the swamp. Their annoyed honking when Ollie gets too close and forces them into the air is worth heading outside for. And the other day I spotted the resident kingfisher perched on the limb of a dead tree. I didn’t realize kingfishers hung around for the winter.

We have a tree next to our house that sprouts bright red berries that last through the winter. I think it’s a hawthorn tree. When we moved in, our neighbors, who actually built the house, told us that once a year a flock of cedar waxwings descends on the tree and strips it bare. It’s so much fun to catch the invasion and this year it happened last week. The waxwings were joined by a gang of robins and together the two groups had all the berries devoured in 36 hours.

And, finally, there have been more snowy owl sightings this year, all up and down the eastern seaboard. One owl has been hanging out at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, about twenty or thirty minutes from our house. It seems like everyone I know has gotten a glimpse of this specimen, except me. Adrian and I shoved Oliver and Dylan in the car last week to go have a look but the owl wasn’t in residence. But on Friday I was passing through the area and detoured over to Dead Creek and there it was! There were five or six other cars stopped, and some photographers with very long lenses. I didn’t even have my good camera with me so I just watched it for a while. Magnificent.

This is the tree it was in, right by the road, and conveniently next to the snow goose viewing area, so the cars have a place to park. This bird must like the limelight. Though I wonder if all the attention scares away its prey. I suppose it could always move if it wanted.

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So there you have it, the extent of my adventures in nature. Now I have to go. It’s been an hour since I peeked in on Dylan, and gazed at him sleeping in his bassinet. Practically an eternity.

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What Do Babies Dream About?

Frequently, in his sleep, Dylan will smile broadly and start chuckling. He has yet to really laugh while awake, but he must be finding humor in his dreams.

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Deep Freeze

It’s way too cold to take the baby out for a walk this morning (-10) and Adrian had an early physical therapy appointment so Oliver isn’t getting a morning walk. Instead, he’s passing the time reading the New Yorker in the sunlight.

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Mouse Movements Made Manifest

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Yesterday, Adrian pointed out to me that all of the mouse activity in our yard was visible under the snow. The little critters have been busy, and their thoroughfares are exposed by the slight hillocks of snow they’ve pushed up as they maneuver underneath it.

I love that, in this case, the snow reveals, rather than conceals, what goes on beneath it.

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Something for Everyone

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Dylan hit the one month mark today and we all got presents.

I figured out our sling so D. got to be carried all afternoon. This boy likes to be rocked.

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Adrian had physical therapy today and then joined a gym to get a pool membership and finally got to do something that made his legs feel good.

His early morning appointment meant I was in charge of the morning dog walk. Ollie found a huge deer carcass to drag around. Pure joy.

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And I got not just one, but two walks in the snowy woods. Pretty good day.

Plus, I got a smile from this little man. That takes the cake.

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