February 2012


Photo: K. Hammerson

Ooh-ah-coo-coo-coo! It’s spring. Well, at least the mourning doves are at it, with males defending territories and enticing their lifelong partner for a little fun. Since they eat primarily seeds and feed their young pigeon milk and predigested matter, they can get an early start.
Certainly our mild winter give them an edge, too. Today it’s in the fifties, sunny, and almost balmy. The mail carrier was covering her route in short-sleeves.
By no means do I think I have enough clout in the world to make much of an impact, but I did my part to bring about this unseasonable winter. I bought several snow shovels, as mine had been hammered into oblivion during last winter’s barrage. And, for the first time in decades, I did NOT hang my snow banner. For as long as I can remember, I have ceremoniously replaced my summer flags with one large blue one, filled with large white snowflakes. This year, I rebelled, as just the sight of it made my shoulders ache.
Perhaps it helped! Spring: I’m ready for ya! Bring it on.

It was Groundhog Day and I was filled with hope that winter might be over. Looking out the kitchen window as I washed my breakfast dishes, I glimpsed a black cat beyond the compost near the creek. I confirmed mine was inside and wondered if it was the stray black and white cat that had been MIA for a month or so.

Grabbing my binoculars, I started to focus on what became a moving target. Initially, its back was towards me and then it turned to cross my backyard, go up my driveway, across the street, and up my neighbor’s drive into her back ten acres.

All the while, my brain kept registering small bits of information. It was more of a brownish black with no other colors. Its fur was very lustrous, with a full, thick tail that curled up a tiny bit at the end. Its little face looked more like a teddy bear. It was the movement—front feet together, followed by the back—more of a lope that finally brought identification. A fisher!

I watched the beautiful animal with awe, simultaneously grateful that both cats were in the house. Suddenly, it didn’t matter much more whether it would be winter or spring today. It would just be.