Monday, November 22, 2010

First Snowfall

Snow, snow, yes or no? That was the big question on nearly everybody's mind yesterday here in the Pacific Northwest. Especially kids' minds. I could swear the pale clouds draped over the city consisted of the condensed exhalations of thousands of children chanting, "Please snow!" Snow would mean not only loads of fun, but also school closings.

A brief snowfall salted their hopes yesterday, but it didn't stick. By 6 a.m. this morning, however, snow was falling thickly, and the world was blanketed not only in white confetti but also the silence that snow brings. School would be half-closed--early dismissals for all.

In an unprecedented bit of organization, I actually managed to fill birdfeeders with sunflower seeds and suet yesterday, so the birds woke to a welcome banquet this morning.

As many as four chickadees are flitting to the feeder, nabbing seeds, and darting away with them to lever off the shells in the safety of the trees. Bushtits, which never go anywhere without bringing a dozen of their friends and family members, are swarming the suet.

And here's something I've personally never seen before: ground-feeding birds perching on the feeders. The juncos are normally content to hop about under the feeders, picking up whatever falls. Today, however, they've wedged themselves onto the tiny perches of the sunflower feeder and are clinging somewhat cautiously to the suet feeder, even when it is upholstered with bushtits. I imagine that's a testament to how cold it is and how cold it will be; 15 degrees Fahrenheit is the latest low predicted.

Just typing that makes me want to go brew up a fresh pot of coffee.

Bushtits: all for one and one for all.

The strawberry tree's fruits capped with snow
are an eyecatching blend of tropical and Arctic.
Of course, snow is all fun and games and not a threat to survival if
your only job is to find old tennis balls and enjoy the perpetual no-school
status of a well-fed and spoiled Labrador.