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Winter Scape

In these late days of January, days after the killing freeze, I wait for the sun and sneak outside for a bit to see what winter has left. Most of my citrus trees are damaged, but I scratch the surface of the bark and see a vivid green and I have hope, though the leaves that remain are crispy brown and foreboding. There are small oak branches littering the yard, little extensions that could not hold on and there are small green leaves covering my largest fig tree. It is a curious and contrasting site, this January 2023.I suppose it mirrors much of what will be…curious and contrasting. There are, once again, many birds. I watch each morning from my kitchen window as they eat amongst the rapid run of the squirrels and the constant pecking of the hens. They blend in just fine, these cardinals and finches and blue jays, enjoying the winter sun and feasting amongst the leaves left from autumn. I have not seen a robin yet. They are, hopefully, still in the woods enjoying their winter diet while awaiting the earthworms to ascend once the ground warms up a bit. I expect them to be fat from the forest. Soon, the groundhog will let us know what is upon us…. I give effort to resting a bit more in winter; it is what nature does, albeit difficult for me sometimes. I treated myself to a favorite (Netflix) movie one afternoon, The Secret Life of Bees. I have seen it before, years ago. I am a self-professed beekeeper, so I was, naturally, drawn into it just from the mention of bees. This time, years later, when I watched it again, the bee factor became just a background to the real substance of the movie. I found much to absorb and learn. I always think a movie, or a book, or a painting is good if it lingers…this one did for me. The black birds are abundant and nearly deafening. They efficiently fly to the tops of bare trees when I walk near, covering a small portion of the woods, stark and beautiful against the pure blue sky. I suspect this is a good time of year for them, I suspect they enjoy the emptiness the winter provides, I suspect it provides good hunting. Crawfish Holes or Crawfish Chimneys are scattered across the damp field, heralds of Mardi Gras and Lent and all things revered in the South Louisiana winter. It is a cozy look; it is a look of home for all of us. Every year the winter birds come and inhabit our bare trees and the crawfish build their muddy mounds in the wet ground, a protected place to lay their eggs, a place that keeps them safe from predators. Little yellow flowers begin blooming in the same fields, as we wait for the buds on our pecan trees; this is what happens each February in our world. I write about it to honor it, to not let it all happen without a notice, for it is a beautiful annual miracle made just for all of us. In the middle of this day, I look up and see the moon at its waxing crescent phase, the first phase after the New Moon. It is lovely up there slowly building its glow until it becomes the Full Snow Moon on February 6th. It is all magical and revealing at the same time. If searching for truth, go outside and watch Nature, for that is where the truth lies. Pam Shensky Berry Tales January 29, 2023

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