Yesterday we had a snowstorm.
Yes, I said it.
I know, from all the texts and check-ins I got from friends and family all over the country (and even from Australia!), that the news was broadcasting a mega-apocalyptic bomb cyclone (which is really a bombogenesis and I’ve already totally lived through one of those already this year!) The thing is, there are often a number of them each winter, and they can certainly be powerful and damaging storms, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that now we plebs know the official name for them so they sound even more ominous (way worse than ‘wicked sto-ahm’), especially when repeated and repeated and repeated and… well, you get the idea.
But I digress.
I’ve been making a lot of friends in my own back yard lately, probably the result of a few bags of fruit and nut-type seed that I bought at the True Value… which, I must say, was an adventure in and of itself.
There are several aisles of seed at the True Value. And if that’s not enough, there are also barrels along the wall so you can scoop your own seed if you the 6.2 bazillion bags sitting on the shelves aren’t doing it for you.
Clearly, a lot of other Mainers are reduced – as I am – to bribing the plumaged and fluffy into hanging out with them on any given day.
As I get to know my new friends, I’m taking a bit of advice from their actions and reactions to the weather. This, I think, might be better than getting all wrapped up in what CNN has to tell me about something I am experiencing, but they are not.
I have noticed that the squirrels (and my beloved Juncos) don’t find the biggest and worst snowdrift or flooded area of the gardens or streets or shore and point at these things, squealing and squawking and warning the rest of us that this is the worst storm ev-ah… until the next one. Also, my new friends are not into naming the storms… or mind-numbingly analyzing storms… or shaking in their L.L. Bean boots anticipating what will come.
They show up…
And puff up…
And when the snow and wind and cold gets to be a bit much, they find a good place to hang out until things slow down a bit.
If they have to fix stuff, they fix stuff… and then it’s back to the rest of everyday life.
It’s pretty straightforward.
Probably because they haven’t figured out how to get cable.
We have a lot of evergreen trees in the gardens, which make for good storm shelters. And JoHn is going to drag our Christmas tree out near the feeder because it is very thick and round (the way all Dingle Christmas trees tend to be).
We’ll tie it up to a post for them, and it can stay there until early Spring.
A nice little warming station.
I may tuck a few bits of suet, maybe an orange or two, inside.
Yesterday, as the snow began to fall, I grabbed my new camera and made sure the dial was set to ‘manual’ mode. It was a teaching day all around.
My new friends showing me how storm prep is done (check things out, accommodate your neighbors, eat a lot), and me clicking away with a ‘what a pretty boy’ here, or a ‘there you go, White Fang!’ there.
Oh. White Fang?
I’ve decided to call all the grey squirrels ‘White Fang’ because it sounds so cool, and Jack London-ish, and literary.
Also because Blaze is certain they have the power to take us all out in one grey-fur-flying swoop, so they need a name that commands far more respect than ‘Eastern Gray Squirrel’.
A group of them?
Anyway, this morning they are all back at the feeder (and torturing Blaze from the porch).
I’m not kidding about the torture part either.
Here is White Fang the other day…
He is standing on his hind legs, looking through the door right at a startled Blaze.
Now you can see why he needed such a bold name.
Yesterday, taking photos of the activity on the farmer’s porch was kind of meditative… and amazing.
As the snow began to fall, the Juncos gathered…
And the Fangers climbed up the branches of the nearest rose bushes (nude, and a little embarrassed, in winter’s chill), hoping to leap from them to the hanging feeder…
And, after a few hours, the world became white.
And it would have been silent too.
But for the songs of new friends.
Thanks for readin’.
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