Dawn Birds

Even before dawn, when the sky is just lightening around four o’clock, a few birds begin turning up. I don’t know which birds they are — from the timbre they might be robins, but this is not daylight robin song. Just a kind of quiet noodling around. Lovely to lie there in the dark listening then drift back down into sleep.

Moral Disorder

Margaret Atwood is a terrific writer. I picked up her collection of stories, Moral Disorder, in the Vancouver airport a couple of days ago and have been reading it in little sips. There is a transparency to the prose that creates an acute sense of the real. (I am in love with the real.) But what really gets to me is a tone of detached good humor that is deeply intelligent without the least bit of showing off. As I’m now a beginning writer of short stories, I take these as models to aspire to.

Spring Birds

On the dog walk this morning I think I heard a cardinal, but I didn’t see it. A couple of robins on the lawn. Mallards on the river. A woodpecker beating on a transformer cover up the road and making a hell of a racket. (A couple of years ago a hairy woodpecker discovered that the tin roof of our tool shed makes a great drum, but he hasn’t been back recently.)

Cold and Bright

Cold and bright this morning, with a skim of fresh ice on the river. The trees are still bare. The terriers got me up at dawn — just before, actually — and I saw a waning crescent moon in a cold blue-black sky. The Canada geese returned yesterday, though, and they were already setting up a racket on the Racquette, so spring must be here. I’m still feeding the goldfinches, but when this barrel of sunflower seed is gone, that’s it for the greedy little buggers. I’ve seen a flock of starlings and a few scattered songbirds the last few days, house finches. It will just be getting really nice when I leave for Vietnam in a month, where it will be full-on hot.