The temperatures are supposed to climb to nearly 40° this week. This promises to make things soggy and damp. Usually, this is my least favorite kind of weather. In an effort to be upbeat about it, I tried to think about something positive for gray, drippy days. One thing I came up with is that every winter I notice that during a thaw, I see the animals acting, well, a little crazy! I distinctly remember last year seeing no less than nine squirrels gathering at the edge of a playground, chowing down on tidbits that had been covered by snow for months. They were so absorbed in their eating, that I got within three feet of them before they scattered. I was mesmerized by the tiny little knob-like thumbs they deftly use to hold their food. I also saw a flock of about 60 starlings swarming the decorative pear tree in my yard. They were gobbling up the tiny, decayed brown fruits as if it were a Vegas buffet! After gorging, the birds were flying in crazy patterns. I think the pears were fermented.
While teaching a class outdoors last week, it was only 12°, up from -3° earlier that day. We didn’t think we’d see much, due to the cold, so when the group spotted two obvious kill sites…a bird and a rabbit probably killed by a bird of prey, it was very exciting. I am taking a group of students out to the same spot this Wednesday, which has a forecast of 41°. While it will be hard to beat the circle of life we witnessed on the 12° day, now I am looking forward to maybe witnessing a little animal lunacy!