If you Think Winter Days are Still …

Our first snowfall arrived this week…almost 6 weeks to the day that the white stuff appeared on the lake’s north shore mountains. That’s in line with the predictions I’ve heard from long-time residents, so it seems they know whereof they speak! It wasn’t enough snow to shovel, and it’s melting away quickly. But it put an end to many of the last fall sounds of our community: no more lawnmowers, leaf raking or blowing, no kids on skateboards rumbling down the road.

It didn’t silence the birds, though. Flights of Canada Geese still honk from V-formations. Mallard ducks that will likely stick around as long as there is open water in the bay still mutter and quack while feeding in the shallows. The Song Sparrow is always ready for a whistle, and Northern Flickers send out their strident calls from atop the cedars. So do Black-billed Magpies and Steller’s Jays.

Northern Flicker
Steller’s Jay

The most welcome sounds now are the chirps and twitters of the feeder birds. Every day, Chickadees and nuthatches stop by for snacks. Juncos breeze in and out, picking up what’s scattered on the deck. Lunchtime seems to be a favourite interlude, with lots of activity. So it seems a fitting time to post this poem I wrote years ago, and which was published in KNOW Magazine, Jan/Feb 2006.

If you think winter days are still,

If you think winter days are still,

That nothing moves in deepest chill,

If you think all is frozen hard

And it seems quiet in your yard,

Listen well,

Look and see,

Something’s moving in that tree.

Perky, small,

Black and white,

Turns into a blur in flight.

Buzzing call,


Hold some seed out, wait and see…

Feathers puffed,

Snug and warm,

Dressed to weather winter’s storm.

If you think winter days are still,

That nothing moves in deepest chill,

Perhaps you’ll be surprised to see

The lively, cheery chickadee.

Mountain Chickadee

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