"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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The Gift of Two Winters
Copyright © 2002 by Bill Scifres

Winter, the season, officially arrived last Sunday. A different kind of winter came with it. The scenario pleased me so.
It was a cold, blusterous afternoon with dark skies that hinted at a white Christmas. As I often do, I had gone to the top deck of the zig-zag stairway that leads to water's edge, and had taken up temporary residence in a chair that offered a good view of both the river and the wooded, brush-filled banks on both sides.
Here I would see whatever moved. That, if past experiences could be used as a yardstick, might be deer, the wily red fox which comes out as daylight fades into night, squirrels, the resident redtail hawks, a medley of owls, ducks and geese quitting their respite on the river and heading for roosting spots. You name it, and I probably have reveled at seeing it there.
As the dim light of day faded, my peripheral vision caught movement. It wasn't big, nor was it on or across the river. It was very close, and I turned my head slowly to the left to learn what daring critter would be so close.
She was a roly-poly little thing with a body that was almost as wide as it was long. Her stubby little tail (no more than half an inch long) stuck straight up. Her chocolate-brown back with alternating streaks of black and a lighter brown, and the hint of a white eyebrow, identified her. She was a winter wren.
For several minutes she flitted about in the leaves and brush, totally unaware of my presence. She hopped and skipped about, turning over leaves in what I fancied a search for a few last morsels of food before going to roost.
Finally, with the oncoming night blotting out my picture, she disappeared into the roots of a little maple tree on the undercut bank of the river. Here she would spend the raw winter night.
For several minutes I just sat there, my feet propped up on the deck railing . . . thinking about Mother Nature's children and their struggles for life.
Heading back to the comforts of a warm house--and eventually a warm bed--my thoughts ranged to a question I had asked myself many times as the Christmas season neared: If I could give every person on earth a gift for Christmas, what would that gift be?
My conclusion: How about the opportunity to see winter (the season) arrive, and winter (the wren) prepare for a cold, dark night?
Merry Christmas!

All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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