While, yes, the abundance of the week was consumed with shopping for, preparing for, and celebrating Thanksgiving (and its leftovers), we first had to get through yet another surgery for Basil, on the right above. He has a dreadful, and I mean dreadful as in horrible, chronic dental inflammation which has resulted in having to have all but four of his teeth pulled over the course of two long surgeries. Imagine putting yourself in his, well, shoes. The latest surgery took place early this week at the hands of his wonderfully kind veterinarian, Dr. Dianna. It took him longer to recover this time than last, and Fern curled up with him day and night, leaving him only to eat breakfast and dinner. A former stray, it would take a hell of a lot for Fern to miss a meal. But afterwards she was right back with Basil. By Thanksgiving Day, he was more his self, joining her at the feed trough.
My one desire was to spend as much of Thanksgiving Day outside as possible. Neither the son nor the daughter was able to be here, so it was me and the dogs. We know where the cats were. There was an article in the paper a few days ago about increasing numbers of Canada geese who winter over here. Enough bodies of water now remain unfrozen, and enough fields have gleanings left behind to support those who choose to stay. We came across this flock harvesting Thanksgiving dinner quite literally as a massive flock was forming overhead to ribbon-up and vee off to warmer climes. The field-bound flock turned their heads as one to follow the calling – which I could just begin to hear – of the those heading out. I am forever in love with the song of geese as they fly. Are they calling out to remind everyone to stay together? To encourage those who are lagging? To remind the left-behinds that it’s really time to get a move on? To say goodbye?
Our favorite hiking spot along the river has miles and miles of trails, and all dogs run off-leash. There were lots of them, and everyone bore smiles and “Happy Thanksgiving!” wishes.
Early on, we passed several trees that had already been decorated for the next holiday. The area borders a large Audubon sanctuary; I suspect the birdhouse in the upper right is one of theirs. For all I know, so are the tree decorations. I know a fellow who works there, and he has a keen sense of humor.
Speaking of which, the birdlife was magnificent. I found myself among a flock of hairy woodpeckers – they have a beautiful, almost whistling song – and was able to snap a shot of this little beauty in the very top of a tree which appeared utterly barren to me. He clearly saw something I did not. We passed several trees full of finches, and others of chickadees. This small raptor swooped right over our heads to land in a tree just ahead of us. He may have found the songbirds as interesting as I did, though for completely different reasons.
I apologize for the poor angle, and for the fact that because of it, I really can’t identify him. If anyone can, please let me know. His coloring is indistinct enough that I’m guessing he may be relatively young.
I finally captured some crows! My God, they’re a chatty bunch. I heard them long before rounding a bend, there they were in droves among the bare trees on the far side of the river.
While I was finally able to photograph some crows, Poppy and Esme were rooted to the spot of someone who left behind a clearly fascinating story.
Shortly thereafter, they tore on ahead and plunged straight down an embankment, right into some very icy waters. Note Esmé’s ears standing straight up like a pair of exclamation points. Can’t you just imagine her hollering, “Holy s*** that’s cold!!”
As we steadily advance upon the shortest day of the year, a great big nest, and a smaller one too, await spring’s return with patient optimism.