Going the Distance

It’s a slow, steady drip as the bucket of What Next is filling rapidly and seems about to overflow. I keep falling back into the grounding exercises that keep me going. Bake a loaf of bread. Go for a walk in the woods. Chocolate-covered almonds.

I voted yesterday morning. I wonder now if it was worth the effort. After cutting my little voter ID card out of the flyer I received in the mail weeks ago, I walked around the block to the elementary school entrance where the polls were open. The voter ID was identical to the two older ones that were still living in my wallet, but I wanted to make everything as easy as possible for the over-taxed election officials. I have voted in every election since I moved here 19 years ago. But yesterday, I could not be found in the system. I had to re-register. When I did finally get my paper ballot, which was what I preferred anyway over the new voting machines that weren’t working, my ballot could not be scanned until some future time when the scanner would be operating. I hope things improved after I left and went into the office for the last time until further notice. I worked a full day and came home to my birds and to ponder my newly-enforced remote existence.

These photographs are from Sunday. The morning was cloudy so I spent some time in the yard trying to get pictures of my most frequent visitors. The Goldfinches are still dominating the action. I estimated there were perhaps forty or more of them, outnumbering the House Sparrows. That’s a thing.

The afternoon promised sunshine so I decided to check McGinnis Slough. As usual, most of the birds were waterfowl way beyond my ability to distinguish them, and I had not felt like taking my scope. There were pitifully few passerines. In fact, I did not see or hear one Red-Winged Blackbird, which seems very odd, especially after having them at the Portage last week.

There were a lot of Northern Shovelers, and I managed to get one in flight early on. Beyond that, the only “near” bird that stood out was a Blue-Winged Teal.

Rain is in the forecast for today, tomorrow and Friday. So I will definitely have to go out this weekend. The gym was officially closed for business yesterday, so I can’t swim. I am going to try to work from home, which is something I never did very often to begin with. But all connection now will be over the Internet entirely, save for the very few times I may have to go out and buy something. I have enough food for myself to likely last a year. (As for toilet paper, I ordered a case of bamboo toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap months ago and just opened it recently. I am not in the habit of giving plugs to anybody but they seem to be a worthwhile organization, donating a portion of their profits to providing sanitation facilities in underdeveloped areas of the world. Unfortunately if you are so tempted, they are out of stock as well, I just checked.) If I need to buy anything, it will be food for the birds that will dictate my immediate spending habits.

The weekend provided a little entertainment indoors. My Zebra Finches found interest in my socks, and I started to build a little musical interlude with Dudlee’s cooing for inspiration.

Here are a few more pictures from Sunday’s yard. I’m getting restless to start cleaning it up but we still have the possibility of frost. However, I suspect projects will develop with the enduring isolation. Beyond music and other indoor diversions, I need exercise and I need to go outside. Plain and simple. I’ll likely visit the Portage a lot more these next few weeks, to monitor the beginnings of Spring Migration.

Scruffy-looking male American Goldfinches are molting away into their breeding plumage.

I hope you are all safe and well and finding some solace in the extra peace and quiet that is inevitable with sequestration. I also hope your connections with loved ones are substantial and enduring. We can all discover a lot more about ourselves when we’re tested like this. Let’s look for a silver lining somewhere in all of this and the world comes together for the common good.

9 thoughts on “Going the Distance

  1. So you are the one keeping the goldfinches for yourself! I wish I had some here. Take care, my friend. 🙂

    • Hi, H.J.! I am not trying to hoard the goldfinches although I must admit I cater to their preference for those ridiculous thistle socks. But I didn’t have any Pine Siskins this year after being so thrilled to host them last year. And I bet you have all the House Finches, so there. Be safe and stay well. 🙂

    • Unfortunately I deferred to vote in person because I heard the machines were not to be trusted and that was all that was available for voting early. What we really need to do in this state, if not the entire country, is institute voting by mail altogether. It’s getting harder and harder to believe in the system but it’s the only one we have.

  2. I’ve been making soup, working on a jigsaw puzzle, going out for walks, and trying to reduce my to-be-read stack. Those zebra finches are darn cute. I thought your musical interlude paired very nicely with the cooing. I saw on PBS Newshour last evening that Yo-Yo-Ma is video recording solo pieces from his home and posting them on social media, and encouraging others to do the same. Take good care!

    • Thanks, Joanne! I’m glad you ventured to open the video and the audio clip. I’m moving on to soup myself later this afternoon. So far I’ve only been out in the yard but I could swear the air is cleaner than usual. Working remotely is distracting me enough but it’s so different that I’m not sure I or the birds know exactly what to do with ourselves yet! Take care and stay well! 🙂

  3. You’ve certainly got lots of entertaining company! I just went out to prune the red elderberry but there was an unpleasant chill so I went back inside after finishing off the shrubs.

    • You’re a braver soul than I am. I hope to get around to some cleanup this weekend, but it looks like the weather is getting colder again. I don’t mind cold, but the wind doesn’t entice me to stay outside. I have an annoying eruption of celandine poppy in the back that I want to decimate – it comes back every year, but I’d like to get rid of as much as I can before it blooms.

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