Winter Returns to the Hills

Snow in the foothills

Winter has returned to the foothills. When the clouds lift, the upper half of the foothills are dusted with snow. White, gray, subtle shades of blues and dark greens, winter here is a palette of pastels.

Snow in the foothills
Swans on a field

I enjoy going out this time of year. Every day is a chance to watch the swans. It’d be nice to know where this group of swans came from. Where in Alaska or Siberia did they spend their summer? There is a pair with their young swans, but is it two pair with their young, or a pair with their young from two summers ago along with the young from this summer?

And where did the swan winter two hundred years ago when the valley was thick forest? On the large lakes? Along the rivers? And how has the change in diet affected them? What they forage in wheat, corn, and potato fields must be different than what they forage in lakes and rivers.

I would enjoy having the swans drop by to swim in our little pond, but it is too small. Swans are like jumbo jets. They need long runways to take off and land. I’ve seen large peahen blast straight up into the air with their powerful wings, but swans need a running start to take to the air. Watching them take flight is like watching jets lumbering to the end of a runway and leaving the earth just before they run out of runway.

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