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
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
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
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?