Yesterday, it rained ice and snowed.
Overnight the surroundings are transformed into still white statues reminding the magic realm of Ice Queen: trees with raindrops frozen at the pointed edges of their dead brown leaves, the wires on high voltage posts hanging low with the rows of transparent icicles, reminding the music score with bunch of notes set on and in-between the black lines—a frozen winter music of desolation and deep sleep. Fur trees with their evergreen needles, ice stuck to each of the sharp emerald tip, glistening in the meek hardly visible sun up the cloudy skies. Slim tall elderberry and dogwood shrubs stand with the iced dried berry baskets hanging from the stems like crystal chandeliers. Cracking sounds of the brunches burdened with ice and snow coming down, breaking some in half, some right at tree trunks, some close to the more heavier ends revealing painfully pale sap of the ice victims …
Birds are somewhere, staying invisible. Birds confused and annoyed, communicating with short alarmed chirps … My birds that I enjoy feeding now and then with the crumbs of a dry loaf are in danger of being frozen overnight, and the ducks too, ducks at our lake. Like J. Salinger’s teenage hero, I wonder where they are now, are they gone? Grey lake waters are frozen, the dry yellow grass – a remnant of the plush summer carpet, is covered with thick ice and snow. Actually, it is an icy powder of snow, much like talc. With every gust of wind it flies up from the ground and away from the trees and spreads around like mists of Avalon. More cracking sounds, more branches are coming down, this time off the pine right in front of our balcony. I hear scared chirps coming from the battered tree, and see how a small birdie flies out of the crown right before one more brunch is split in half.
I put the jacket, take two dry pieces of bread, and hurry out to the balcony. The wooden floor is completely white, iced, and slippery. Slowly moving to the cement post at the corner where I usually crumble the bread pieces by rubbing them against each other, I notice a couple of my birdies on the branches in front, the red robin with perfectly black beak and penciled eyes in company of his more demure spouse—orange beak and belly. I spread the crumbs evenly along the rectangular surface of the mercilessly frozen post, and some onto the balustrade of the balcony and slowly retrieve to the warmth of the apartment.
As soon as the door is shut, the few obnoxiously loud sparrows and a group of feisty bluish-grey mockingbirds emerge in anticipation of food hopping and flying from the frozen branches of the trees around. The robins are hopping onto balustrade on a safe distance from the bigger mockingbirds. The company is joined by sulfur bellied flycatcher and modest collard doves. The woodpecker with scarlet ceremonial biretta on head and white and black dotted wings reminding of high fashion runway color combination stands out on the clean white of the snow, he is busy picking the crumbs from the balcony floor.
The lively and colorful feast begins amidst of ice reign. The winter spell has been broken. Bon appétit, birdies!