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Peace Like a River

Winter life along the Crooked River.

The weather in Maine is always changing. We have about a foot of new snow on the ground from a classic Nor’easter over the past couple of days. The incoming storm brought with it some warmer temperatures, and by warm, I mean something in the neighborhood of freezing. (Trust me, freezing is sometimes warm, relatively speaking.) It was so nice out today and I needed a break from my computer, so I sat out on the back deck for a bit.

One of the main reasons we bought the house we bought was its location beside the Crooked River. The bird life is wonderful. With an endless birdfeeder buffet here, our bird population is ever-growing and ever-changing. Our wild turkey flock has grown to 21 and they leave tracks crisscrossing the yard and river ice. Our bluejay flock is nearing two dozen. The chickadee flock is uncountable since they flit back and forth from the trees so quickly, but their numbers are growing. We are graced with evening grosbeaks and bluebirds lately. Early this morning I heard a saw-whet owl in the woods across the river.

All is quiet on the river right now. The surface is iced over, enough so that the turkeys can cross back and forth. Today some of them spent some time chasing each other in circles on the ice. There seemed to be no other reason for that than a bit of fun. With the ice and the winter, we have lost our swimming birds. No ducks or mergansers or geese float by.

There are very early signs of spring. The maples are showing red. The chickadees call is changing here and there to the plaintive Deeeeedee. With weeks of winter still ahead, we’re sure to see more snow and cold temperatures. That doesn’t stop us from dreaming and planning. We have an outdoor house project planned for the spring. We are working on a spring project for our birds, too, some birdhouses for them to raise their young.

In the midst of troubled times, having a moment to pause and listen to the flutter of wings overhead brings a sense of calm. The river still runs deep and quiet beneath the ice, flowing on past us, always determined to reach its destination. It is in these quiet moments of this quiet season when we can truly say for just that moment in time that we’ve got “peace like a river.”

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