Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Its Over Now

The other day was the opening of the 2009 major league baseball season. But it rained too hard in Boston during the afternoon game time so the event never happened there. The same precipitation poured on my home property about one hundred miles south of Fenway Park, the home field of the Boston Red Sox. According to our rain gage we had about three quarters of an inch that afternoon. Most of the time it was just a light drizzle but when it come down hard, it came down really hard. And it was mid-March cold, and windy.

During the worst part of the downpour I looked out and saw one squirrel dining on the sunflower seed feeder and seven or eight goldfinches eating at the thistle station. When I checked again about thirty minutes later the tree rodent was gone, and two other gold finches had occupied its space. Several other Carduelis Fringillidae waited impatiently on nearby branches.

It was an unusual sight. Normally the critters eschew all al fresco dining during a deluge -- except on the second or third day of non-stop rain when a combination of hunger and cabin fever drives them out into the storm. But on this day the morning was relatively rain free and the feeders seemed to have received their normal complement of visitors. And the day before had actually been rain-free and sunny.

Neither the tree that holds the feeders, nor anything else provided any form of shelter whatsoever from the daytime deluge. The squirrel's normally pale gray fluffy coat had assumed a shiny blackish hue and, other than three or four randomly placed cowlicks, was plastered tightly against the tiny rodent's torso and appendages -- including its tail which under other circumstances would have provided some umbrella coverage for its owner. This squirrel however was hanging upside down, grasping the feeder perch with its hind feet, and its water-laden backbone extension succumbed meekly to gravity while the remainder of its body gracefully contorted itself in utter defiance to the most basic laws of physics.

The goldfinches looked equally hapless. The male of that species is changing from olive drab winter coloring to chick-magnet mating yellow. And the females likewise are brightening their appearance, albeit not to as resplendent a hue as their soon-to-be ardent suitors. Both genders were at the feeder and the feathers of both were water-colored back to their most dismal mid-winter hue, with an additional tint of sorrowful saturation.

I think that both the yellow birds and the scarlet hose were just rushing the season.

On the next day the University of Connecticut Women's basketball team won the NCAA tournament title. They were undefeated -- thirty-nine straight wins with an average victory margin of nineteen points.

Although this does not happen annually, we the people of Connecticut expect it to. With total disregard for the quarterly calendar divisions of the year, in our state September through early April is most importantly known as the basketball season -- women's basketball that is. We Nutmeggers understand and encourage this. Even the April weather usually cooperates.

In our neck of the woods, winter ain't over 'til the tall lady cuts down the net.

No comments: