[Tweeters] Beginnings and Ends

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Fri Dec 23 19:33:27 PST 2016

Just a few days past Solstice now - another year ending, another beginning.

That's according to the Astronomy Department , and while some people have different ideas as to what constitutes the new year, I find peace and a great stillness in the Solstice- it's kind of a big deal. The celestial clock clicking over to another cycle. Actually, it's kind of nice to have a decoy New Year's Day on January first when people get sort of crazy blowing things up and getting loaded. Makes the real thing all the calmer. Silent night, and all that.

Down here on the ground, where astronomy meets biology, things are happening.

Here in mild Port Townsend there are still some remnants of fall color in the old-gold leaves of the Scouler's Willow, aka Upland Willow ; a willow of dryish places, it's abundant around here. And even as fall lingers, the Hazels (both the pale golden flowered european, which naturalizes quite well, and the more subtle native species) are just beginning to bloom. The brush patches are glowing with red rose hips and snowy snowberries. At my parents house a forsythia opened up a few yellow blooms on solstice day - while it's not totally unusual for this shrub to exhibit some autumnal recrudescence, for this usually spring blooming plant to bloom on Winter solstice, especially given recent cold weather, was a bit weird, even for ol' Port Townsend.

This morning I opened my door here at the Two Room Ranch to check the weather, and despite the hypothermic conditions of mid-thirty degree temps and steady rain, I was greeted by an Anna's Hummingbird a few feet away from my face. "Hey California, come on in, its like La La land in here", and I imagine if I'd got out of the doorway and left the door open a bit, it might have, being the bold inquisitive type. Having begun watching birds around wetside Washington in the BAE (before anna's era), I still think of them as Californians, sort of.

Also lurking in the side yard here the last few days have been Pacific Wrens which I have flushed several times from their grotto under the hood of my little truck. Reading the recent tweeter posts by James Beneteau and Barb Diehl about these little twerps, I was reminded they are of the genus Troglodytes, which is some sorta greek for "cave goer", which seem appropriate for one snooping in the cavernous Home Depot (albeit a cave with heat and lighting and a plant section), or looking for hidy-holes on Barbs windowsill, or under my truck. In the woods they are often popping out from some little hole it seems.

Troglodyte, in modern terms, also means "a person intentionally ignorant, or old fashioned" which could describe me I suppose. I still think of Anna's as Californians, and Pacific Wrens as Winter Wrens, and about all I can do on a computer is send tweeters posts, but maybe I'll advance a little someday.

Well, onward into Winter! When Winter begins, the days grow longer. Yay.

Jeff Gibson

lurking in

Port Townsend Wa

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