First of all, the temperature gauge is registering high sixties in early February, giving the day an April-like feel.
This morning I was sitting in my second-story bedroom when an unusual movement in the evergreen tree outside caught my eye. A bird? No, it was one of those sly neighborhood-roaming cats slinking around the upper branches, lying in ambush for unsuspecting nuthatches and juncos. I had an impulse to throw open the window and yell at it, or better yet, blast it with a Super Soaker. At the moment, though, I was nursing NS and so remained glued to the rocking chair.
Moments later I watched as a gray squirrel, scampering along the heights of one of the tall backyard locust trees, stuffed some nest material in its mouth, made a leap for the next branch, and missed, plummeting out of sight! My jaw hung on its hinge. Never in my thirty years of living had I ever witnessed one of those astonishing little acrobats missing the mark. I wanted to run to the window and rubberneck, like passers-by at the scene of an accident. Had it smashed to the ground? Did it hit the ground running? Or did it miraculously catch another branch on the way down? I hoped for the latter.
In light of the balmy weather, I decided to pack a bit of lunch and take NS for a stroll in the park next to the hospital following her medical appointment. As we entered the little park, a trim, white-haired man was walking just ahead of us on the gravel path. He stopped at a small deck on the bank of the duck pond. I pushed the stroller beyond him to the gazebo and parked NS in the sunlight so I could eat my PBJ and watch the water fowl. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the man begin to sweep the air slowly with his arms and swing his legs as if performing a private dance. It was a fairly fluid movement, but seemed formless, as if he was making it up as he went along. Who knows, perhaps he was a master of Tai Chi, perfecting his art over lunch break.
As NS snoozed, I turned my attention to the Canada geese gliding busily around the pond in their elegantly tailored uniforms. A squadron of them came overhead out of nowhere, lowering their landing gear with graceful precision and braking efficiently by skiing for several noisy yards across the lake surface before settling in. They are living land-and-sea planes, I observed (strangely enough, maybe for the first time).
Leaning over the gazebo balcony, I was startled to see, among the brown tangle of winter stalks, a few clusters of berries. They were not red, as I would have expected, but magenta. Pink berries in February! My first inclination was to look up the plant in a field guide. I've seen wildflower guides and tree guides...but is there such a thing as a berry book?
P.S. In a not-so-strange, but noteworthy observation, the doctor's scales read "eleven pounds, thirteen ounces" on NS' six-week birthday. That's a three-pound gain since her ten-day check-up, enough to make a breastfeeding mom proud.