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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mid-Week Snow and Reading Report

Seen Near Home and in the Village

Some winter days, like last Saturday, are calm and beautiful—a welcome change from the cold, driving snow of Friday, seen above through my bookstore window.

Saturday’s morning light on snow-covered black locust trunks made the trees look from a distance like white birches, and our neighbors’ little farm stood out from the landscape like a scene from a storybook.

Waukazoo Street in the village of Northport looked inviting, too, on a sunny winter day.

Not all days are sunny, and when the weather turns bleak again Sarah takes it in her stride, literally, as long as she’s given opportunities for fun, exercise and exploration.

But this poor little cedar waxwing outside the Leelanau Township Library on Monday morning could not have been enjoying being outdoors. If it had still been able to fly, surely it would not have allowed me to get so close with my camera, but what to do? My general #1 rule with wildlife is “Do no harm,” which usually entails, for me, doing nothing rather than trying to intervene in ways that may worsen the situation.

After watching the bird polish off a tiny crabapple, I ventured to pluck a few more from the tree and place them within its reach. Where is the little feathered soul now, over 24 hours later?

My Reading This Week

Monday evening I stayed awake long enough to see the main character and first-person narrator of The Book of Salt, by Monique Truong, introduced into the household of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. I might have gotten further in the novel had I not been seduced earlier in the evening by the London Review of Books. Today it was some historical research at the Traverse City Area Library (how long has it been since you looked at old newspaper articles on microfilm?) and the book Oil Notes, by Rick Bass, that claimed my attention. Here is one right-on little observation from Bass that has nothing to do with oil:

There are people I know who dabble, who want to write—no, who want to be writers. But they’re married, or have children, or have a job, or watch the news. There’s no time. Or they need to be inspired. They wait for it, and it comes about once every three years, and half the time in those instances they’re without a pen, or think they’ll remember it—their inspiration.

Restaurant News from Waukazoo Street

Stubb’s Sweetwater Grill is open for dinner this week on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Beginning next week, Stubb’s will also be open on Tuesdays, but that will be bar only. Dinner evenings will remain Wednesday through Saturday. Sounds like a cheery change of pace, doesn’t it? With the weather outside so frightful and all?


P. J. Grath said...

This is horrible. Somehow I didn't see it yesterday, but tonight I keep looking at these pictures of the cedar waxwing and fearing that those icy clumps on the sidewalk are its frozen feet. Can it be? What should I have done? What should I do next time if there is a next time?

Gerry said...

Beautiful little bird. Probably it could peck at ice clumps on its feet, if that's what they were. It was still eating. In fact, maybe it was a wee bit tipsy from fermented crabapples! We'll never know, will we? It's a hard world for little birds, but at least they can fly, and on a beautiful sunny day, that must be something to experience.

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you for the comforting words, Gerry. David told me I was imagining things, that birds' feet don't freeze. It was walking fine, anyway, even if it didn't fly away. I was watching it from a standing position, so I didn't see its feet, but it walked from the sidewalk to the alley and back to the sidewalk, all on its own. Your fermented fruit theory makes me smile, and I'll hope the bird later flew away home to sleep it off and dream sweet dreams.

LifetimeReader said...

I do hope the birds are ok. What beautiful pictures! I'm looking forward to hearing more about SALT and what you think of it.

Anonymous said...

Pamela, that little waxwing is just the sweetest. I feel the same way you do about not interfering with wildlife. Then I torment myself with second thoughts as to whether or not I *should* have done something.

Sometimes birds fly into things and are just a bit stunned for a while. Eventually they gather their wits and fly off. Eating is an excellent sign. Birds also look out for each other and are known to feed and care for injured ones. There may have been another nearby that was watching both it and you, and just waiting for you to leave so that it could fly in and help.

P. J. Grath said...

Thank you for your positive message, Amy-Lynn. I went back this morning and found no trace of the bird. Wasn't it beautiful, though?

Lifetime Reader, I'll let you know how I do with SALT, but it may take a while, since I have several books going at once and am pretty obsessed with a particular environmental issue these days, too. That was what motivated me to my library research.

Dawn said...

Loved/hated the quote...because it's so true. Sadly.

The bird pictures are stunning...I've always loved those birds, we only see them once a year, if that, as they fly through going somewhere else. They're usually in a flock, hope this little guy had his flock somewhere near. And yes they do get tipsy with old fruit and often fall out of trees.

Loved the snow sceen with the wood pile, and the pretty little village photo..and the "birch" trees, and the little farm..and oh well...I loved to look at all of them!

P. J. Grath said...

It makes me happy to hear that my pictures give pleasure. As for the quote, it was just what I needed to stumble across myself yesterday. I'm going to stop worrying about the cedar waxwing now and simply be grateful for the opportunity to observe its beauty so closely and capture it for others.

Kathy said...

I loved looking at your winter pictures from the upper lower, Pamela. What a cute little bird--I am sure its feet were not frozen. We don't have many cedar waxwings this far north. I'm not sure I've seen very many at all.

P. J. Grath said...

Kathy, hi! I am feeling very relieved after all the messages assuring me that the bird's feet were not frozen. When I saw those ice clumps, I almost took the pictures off the post but am glad now I left them on. Now I can go back to being thrilled, in retrospect, at having the chance to get so close to the beautiful bird.