December, not feeling it's getting the respect it deserves from me (suspected for its fishy warmth, then dubbed dark, drab, dingy, and done) has struck back with its wintry trick, its hibernal, hyaline hexagons, no two alike, ladies and gentlemen, give it up for snow! Not the wacky, too-big, too-slow, kind that came plopping down in October. This was an organized, meaningful, flying in the streetlights, coming at you in the headlights, seasonally appropriate visitation. Not a lot here in Arlington. An inch, maybe. More up the road in Lexington. But let notice be served. December has something more than brown going for it. In fact, December invented white.
Yesterday's revelation was a winter duck. I knew some were around. I've read the posts from my Menotomy BIrd Club brethren about canvasbacks and ruddies on Fresh Pond. But I haven't been looking. Till yesterday, late afternoon, after the first of the sleet, I stopped at the Arlington Reservoir. Wandered around the edge of the pond, partly screened by underbrush. Saw a few mallards. Farther-off swans. Then something different: a gang of American wigeons. I'd gotten to know them in Vancouver, flotillas of them out on English Bay, making their rubber-ducky squeaks. These ones were quiet, smoothly gliding and pivoting, showing their white crown stripes (which give them their other name of baldpates) in the dimming daylight.
So let's see what the advent calendar has yielded so far: full moon; NO MAN CAN LIVE ALONE; the sun; New York; and an American wigeon (with maybe a few wet snowflakes around it).
And for today, the 6th, add a picture of a kid on a sled. I was dropping Matt off at his band practice this afternoon in somewhat snowier Arlington Heights. As he lugged his amp up the walkway to the drummer's house, two little girls of five or six came bopping by with a plastic sled. Matt watched. "Sleds," he said nostalgically. "I haven't sledded in so long." He paused. "Sledded? Is that right? " I assured him it was. And on the way home I stopped at Robbins Farm, the park at the top of the Heights with a commanding view of downtown Boston. At one end is Arlington's sled hill of choice. Twenty or so kids and their parents were there and the snow was obliging, the kids whizzing down, falling off, or coming to a stop, and trooping back up, to whiz down again. A kind of industry. I thought briefly of myself age ten plummeting down the perilous driveway of the Wormsers (not so steep when I saw it as an adult) on my old Flexible Flyer, the wood and red metal kind.... But, hey, Rosebud me no Rosebuds, bud. December has redeemed itself and time to go home.