It's been a cold, damp, cold, dark, cold, rainy day here along the river.
There's an old country saying that autumn goes slipping down the river. The truth of this was visibly evident every time the wind blew, which instantly sent a pile of lemon-yellow boxelder leaves pouring onto the water, as if some profligate pirate were suddenly seized by the desire to hurl away a fortune in gold doubloons.
The newly-freed boxelder leaves would join the occasional maple, hackberry, and sycamore, all of them in their various hues bobbing along upon the slow-moving current like autumnal confetti. This wasn't the main leaf-fall that gives the season its name—but a good precursor of things to come…and possibly sooner than we expect if the weather continues to deteriorate.
I did mention it was cold, right?
Okay, so maybe you folks in Canada and Minnesota and North Dakota don't consider 43F degrees cold. Well, neither do we Ohioans, usually. But confound it, it sure felt cold here today. I huddled at my desk, electric heater on HIGH, yet shivering still, chilled to the bones and feeling a lot like Bob Cratchit trying to keep warm with a single lump of coal in Scrooge's counting house.
The cold—or more likely the steady light drizzle—discourage feeder visitors, too. Only the chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice seemed unaffected. The squirrels stayed inside their snug hollow in the big sycamore near the drive. With the bunch of 'em nestled cozily together, all in their nice fur robes, I bet they were toasty.
I wasn't. I was COLD!
Just before the rain came I went out and tossed the ducks a second scoop of cracked corn. I'd given them one early on, soon after daylight, in hopes of keeping them from quacking like dependent fools and waking the neighbors. A duck could get shot for such behavior hereabouts.
Have to told you I've been feeding those two white ducks who came floating dowstream like wandering featherdusters a couple of months back? [post]
Well, I have, and I can assure you that while ducks may not be the smartest birds to ever waddle up from the sandbar, they're easily the loudest. And like any good bum on the lam, they never forget the source of a free meal. All I have to do is step out onto the deck, say "Hey, ducks!" in anything above a whisper, and they come bleating and quacking from a hundred yards away, like sheep with outboard motors strapped to their butts. I swear they displace wakes that threaten to wash out the bank!
Anyway, the winds blew, the leaves came sifting onto the water, and a portion of autumn went slipping down the river…apparently taking every BTU of available heat with it. But the ducks stayed. And the rains came.
AND IT'S STILL COLD!