Earth and sky are identical whites, separated only by gray-brown trees and the river's dark ribbon. The subdued light is flat and even, without shadows, making it difficult to follow the line of tracks where Moon the Dog walked during her morning reconnoiter. Snow is sifting down, sometimes just a dusting, as if an upstairs baker were readying a few loaves of seasonal bread for the oven; yet occasionally the small flakes simply pour from the white sky, so thick through the trees that it is almost impossible to see the river's opposite shore.
A male downy woodpecker is picking and poking its way up the big box elder near the front of the cottage. I hope its effort pays off in tasty bugs. The old tree can use all the help it can get with insect control.
There's a Carolina wren in the feeder just beyond my deskside window…perky, inquisitive, pausing every so often in its seed munching to peer through the glass at me—the inspected inspecting the inspector. I adore wrens, especially this one with the southern affiliation and the big voice. They can be fierce sprites, holding their ground against birds twice their size with threatening pokes from slender, downturned beaks. Even the aggressive red-bellied woodpeckers pay them heed. I think the Carolina's plumage of warm browns and tans is matchless in its rich understatement.
Far downstream, a couple of herons stand fifty feet apart on the ice shelf. Slate-blue birds above jade-green water. The falling snow has apparently made them more tolerant of what would normally be viewed as mutual encroachment on fishing rights and territory—though perhaps they're just conserving energy during the cold weather.
Providing I can coax my pickup up the icy hill at the top of the drive, I intend to take another stab at Christmas shopping, plus I want to stop by the grocery for a few things, including eggs for an evening pitcher of nog. Should the first attempts prove futile, I'll shovel a bit and put down salt—or whatever the stuff is—and give it a couple of hours to melt things for a bite of traction on the gravel underneath.
Myladylove has apparently taken my cell phone to work. At least several searches throughout the house have failed to locate the missing device. The last time I used it was early this morning. I remember placing it on the kitchen counter afterwards. They're having a holiday carry-in lunch today where Myladylove works. I'd made a big dish of Spicy Southwest Rice (baked brown rice, chicken stock, tiny slices of barbecued pork, onions, garlic, corn, tomatoes, diced jalapenos, oregano, chili powder, ground cayenne pepper and cumin) to take in. Myladylove was running late and in a rush. As our phones are identical, she likely grabbed my phone and stuck it in her jacket. Since we don't have a house phone, I can't call and ask, or hear a report on my rice dish's popularity until this evening.