Sunday, March 11, 2007

The robins lied!

Well, first the American Food Industry cheats me of my full quota of kinds of squash and melons, and now the robins lie to me. Life is hard, I tell you.

Last Tuesday, March 6, I saw the first robin of the spring. I was very happy; while we had a late winter here in S. Central PA, with cold and snow not coming until February, once winter arrived, it was brutal. Temperatures in the deep freeze for the first 3 weeks, and snow, covered with ice covered with snow again.

But Monday, March 5 was sunny and warm. There was a little snow on the ground, back in the back where it is shaded. On Tuesday the backyard was full of birds- all the familiar winter birds, juncos, chickadees, cardinals were there, plus a host of the birds you don't realize have been gone until they return. The ground was covered with mourning doves, plump and pinky-grey, wandering around like maiden aunts or fussy grandmothers. The grackles and the starlings were marching about, turning over leaves in that military, authoritative way they have, and mobbing the feeder. When I saw the two robins, I knew spring was on the way, and I celebrated. I planted seeds, I dreamed of my garden.

Wednesday we had 8 inches of snow. Schools were cancelled; I got a snow day from work. It was cold again, and the winds blew incessantly. We didn't see another robin until today (Sunday). I don't know where they hid out- perhaps they high tailed it back south for the week. I had no idea that robins were such liars! I'll never trust them again.
Well, in all fairness, perhaps the robins were just as tired of the winter as I, and they were just pushing the season. It is a beautiful day today, after all.
The two pictures show the same part of the backyard. The first picture is just closer. In the second picture you can see the Kwan Yin statue in the center of the photo.
I heard from my friend Sveta, in Minsk; she tells me spring is arriving there, and the birds are out. She planned to spend her International Women's Day holiday taking a walk in the forest to look (and listen) for birds. I think of Sveta everytime I look at the birds in my backyard; we know each other because her son spent 3 weeks with us last summer as a foreign exchange student in a special summer program. We found we share many interests, especially birds. We exchange letters and pictures frequently via email, and I have learned much from Sveta and her son Vadim. I am so proud and pleased that she reads this blog.
And that reminds me- now is the time to think about hosting a foreign exchange student next school year. We participated in 3 programs- one full year exchange student from Korea, one half year student from Brazil, and the 3 week student from Belarus. They were all good experiences; we had fun, and I hope the kids did as well. You don't have to have a nuclear family with kids in high school to host, either- the first year we had a student, our youngest was in his last year of college. I've known single people who were hosts, as well. We worked with AYUSA; there are other organizations, as well.

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