Sparrows in hoodies


Dark-eyed junco, adult female, 8 a.m.

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether the power was out for for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it was out for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six. (With apologies to Dylan Thomas, in poet heaven.)

Actually, our power isn’t out. But I’m mentally preparing to lose it later (again) when the snow turns to sleet and freezing rain before the storm tapers off around 3 p.m. I’m staying caught up on dishes, laundry, showers.

“No school today,” I reported to the sleeping teen early this a.m. Her muffled response was “Yay.”

“Aren’t you bored with staying home?” The high school has been closed since last Friday. “No,” she said into her soft, warm, feathery pillow.

Snow storm consolation: the dark-eyed juncos are back and they look nice against the snow. When there is more light I will try for another picture. The males are especially handsome in their little black capes and hoods, the cheerful monks of the sparrow world.

I dusted the snow from the feeders and tossed more seed on the ground. Doves, chickadees, cardinals and titmice joined in the feast.

Rectitude Chic: The first Christmas in the age of restraint

Is this the last Christmas of the old era, or the first Christmas of the new? Will people spend in a way that responds to what’s around them (Nothing seems changed!) or to what they know is coming (Did you see this week’s jobless numbers? Highest in 26 years!)? Will they go for some last big-ticket items, sliding the platinum card along the counter with a “We who are about to die salute you” flair, or will spending reflect a new prudence, and the new anxiety? Assume the latter. There’s a new mood taking hold.