You need to look close to appreciate the special magic of many winter gardens. This ruffled, frilly beauty is growing in the far corner of our east meadow, on a sumac branch about the size of a broom handle, a perfect miniature bouquet of pale lichen leaves, feathery green tendrils, and tiny orange flowers--well, not actually leaves and flowers, but look-alikes. A raccoon has stripped the fruit from the sumac and a white-tailed buck has rubbed the trunk raw, leaving his mark for other bucks to notice. A little farther along the path, a coyote has deposited some furry torpedo-shaped scat, the remains of a meal of mouse or vole; some deer have matted down the dry grass in a perfect circle; and at the corner near the old workshop, the feral cat who lives underthe woodpile has scraped up a heap of grass to cover her leavings. The meadow must be a busy place at night, when we're asleep and nobody's watching. Tiny gardens, invisible nocturnal animals--some of the loveliest things are the hardest for humans to see.
Many thanks to all who sent well-wishes for Zach. We've started him on a drug therapy, Ketaconzole 200 mg. 2x a day. The vet says vomiting and loss of appetite are the two major side-effects. If you've had experience of this drug and know of anything else we should watch for, drop me a line. So far (two days) he's tolerating it well.
I'm leaving for the Story Circle conference tomorrow, so don't look for blog posts here until early next week.
Reading note: This is the paradox of the familiar: the more you know a place, or think you know it, the more it can take you where you do not expect.--William DeBuys