A mist drifted up the canyon a couple of nights ago. I’m not sure where it came from – it wasn’t one of those cold air, warm water ones. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the creek or, lower down, the river. It drifted up and turned everything dark; the cottonwood branches spooky black lines disappearing into grey, the evening early, quiet. No frost at night. Then it rained. Rained hard.
We catch a whiff of cottonwood buds fattening up, the nettles pop out of last year’s tangle, the wild currants are in leaf. Chickadees, of course, and juncos. Nuthatches and robins. The racket of hummingbirds at the feeder, sapsuckers, flickers, even snipes in the distance. White-crowned sparrows scratching for seeds. The ravens nesting just up the creek cruise through, looking for dinner.
We can hear the creek now from our bedroom window. It’s rising, darkening, foaming at obstructions. A pair of harlequins are courting just above the log jam where yellow-rumped warblers flutter and snatch at the surface of the water. A spotted sandpiper stares at us. Golden-crowned kinglets buzz in the spruce trees beside us. We wait for the lone Pacific wren to begin its aria.
The lobaria, ashy flakes just last week, is plumped up green and luscious. Alectoria and usnea, glittering with raindrops. Xanthoria’s orange, even brighter.
The air is soft and alive with colour, with movement, with music.
Thanks to our neighbour, Greg Wedlock, for the harlequin photos.
This post is gorgeously poetic, Sheila. Have you noticed different birds in your parts this year? We’re seeing some we’ve never seen before, and not seeing as much of some we’re used to seeing. Coincidence or climate change? Hmm.
No odd birds this year though there seem to be more snipes and the nuthatches seem more plentiful than they’ve been for years. What are you seeing?
I think it must have been a western tanager. We’ve never seen one before. Very colourful.
Western tanagers definitely show up here but they’re not common.
So very evocative Sheila, you are blessed to have your home so connected to the land.
Joan, we are lucky. But talking about connections, I’ll never forget your story about the Skeena forcing ground water up into your basement. B
That was a nice read and I learned so much!
Thanks Sita. I’ve just sent you an email and hope to hear some of your stories from Harriet’s house…