Wednesday, January 28, 2004

It is a wicked day here. It is drizzling and the temperature is just above freezing. I skipped my predawn hot tub experience because the wind is just too cold and blustery and, frankly, I'm a wussie! They would never have let me get away with that kind of cowardice when I was in Japan. I miss that culture, at times. They always seemed to work at finding a way to smile and not be unhappy. That may have been the act put on for a guest in their country, but it had the essence of reality and worked well for the gaijin me. Gaijin is the Anglo version of something my computer keyboard won't type. It sort of means "other". In Japan you are either us or other and I was other. This other was very happy when slipping into volcanically warmed water... Geothermal energy at its finest and highest use.

The light in the sky is diverse and changing, with the clouds arguing as to which way they want to go this morning. If you can stay warm and dry it is beautiful. There is an energy exuded by the birds as they hunt for food at dawn. Interestingly, they are making a lot of noise this morning. What are they telling each other in the January dawn?

We have a shrub-like native plant that grows around our house. My neighbor, Rose, calls it Mountain Blueberry. I like it because it has a cultivated looking waxy leaf that hangs on well into the fall with a red wine color. It also has something like a blueberry on it. If the late summer weather suits it, the plant yields lots of berries that I think taste pretty good for a few minutes each year, before they dry up and hang around until about now. At this point the birds decide that they are hungry enough to work on the Dogwood berries and then the Mountain Blueberries. One of the birds that is attracted by all this is the Blue bird. This time of year their color is muted, somewhat, but the sight of forty something of them in the crown of a dogwood tree swarming like bees on clover blossoms is stunning. When they attack the mountain blueberries it can be comical. The berries tip the ends of tiny twigs that simply won't hold up a bird. First one bird lights on a branch and then another and they start working on pulling the berries off, and then, all of a sudden there are too many birds and the shrubbery gives way all at once, sending a flurry of pastel blueness onto nearby perches. Then it starts all over again, much to my great entertainment. In a few days the Mountain Blueberry bushes will look very barren. The birds will move on to other business and the bushes will settle in to a late winter funk.

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