The pond is blustery this morning, skittishly turning from blue to brown as the wind gusts across it. I couldn’t stay inside. So I put on my rubber boots (the easiest things to grab) with no socks (takes too much time to put on socks) and tightened the belt of my baby blue velour bathrobe with the soot stains on the sleeves from building a fire in the woodstove chilly mornings. I tucked my raggedy sweatpants into the boots, arranged my Lanz of Salzburg flannel nightgown over them, remembered to take the binoculars and stepped out. It was quite the look, I’m sure. Especially when I remembered that I had slept in my blue topaz earrings, so they were dangling coquettishly.
As I tromped over to the pond grate to clean it—a daily activity—a new birdcall gave me pause and I stopped to locate it. I keep a bird journal and each year I get excited when the migrants show up. I know this because when I look back on earlier years to see when, for instance, the fox sparrow has arrived, it has the same exclamation point next to it that I put on this year. I located the singing bird with the binoculars, trying to keep it in my sights as it danced along the spruce branches—no mean feat, especially since I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet.
I looked for markers to identify it, but it was unremarkable—a buff colored little thing with a wing bar (but not a goldfinch.) Then I saw the glimmer of deep red—just a dot, really—on the top of its head. Ah ha! A ruby-crowned kinglet! I made my way back to the house, wrote ruby crowned kinglet (!) in my bird journal and then sat down next to the cheery wood stove and took a first sip of hot coffee.