mornings

A few mornings ago, it was this: a weasel by the sunroom door. Did the cat bring it? There’s no sign of teethmarks, a struggle, and in any case, there is almost nothing fiercer than a weasel. This particular species can kill a rabbit by climbing onto its back and biting into its neck. I was sad to see a dead one. Alive, they make themselves known by running through the gutters and small runnels between the panels of our metal roof, hunting mice. Some mornings, in my bed, I’ve looked up to see one on the dog rose canes across the window, peering in at me. The last time a robin nested on the beam across our patio, before Winter the cat came to live with us, we were watching, as we’d watched for years, for the eggs to open, the hatchlings emerge, the young to develop and fledge. But one morning there was a commotion outside, both robin parents agitated and squawking, and then I saw a weasel on the laundry stoop, broken eggs around it. I sent my children the photograph of the weasel and my daughter, who works in a museum, wondered if the mammals curator would want it. She asked and yes, he did. So I measured the little animal, recorded our coordinates, and froze it in a ziplock bag for the next time I see Angelica. I think the weasel will be turned into a study skin and I’m glad it won’t go to waste. That its life wasn’t entirely wasted. Years ago I found one in this same place, on a second-storey deck, by our sunroom door, and in those days we didn’t have a cat. So perhaps it had a virus or parasites. (I wore disposable gloves when I measured it and put it in its bag.)

These mornings are beautiful. When I woke at 5, a Swainsons thrush was singing beyond the house. I took my coffee out to the greenhouse and it was cool and green inside. Something had been eating the arugula leaves and looking closely, I found a tiny slug on the surface of the soil. No doubt it was in the soil when I potted up the seedlings a week or two ago. And around the half-barrel outside the door, tiny flies were hovering over the pitcher plant. I didn’t linger long enough to see if any of the entered the pitfall trap (isn’t that a great name for the modified leaves filled with digestive fluid?) but later this morning I’ll look. I wish my grandchildren were here to join me on a little walk around to see the wonders of the world. Instead, the ones in Ottawa will hang the mason bee house we sent them for Christmas while our blue orchard mason bees are out and about, the females filling the holes in our 6 houses with nectar and pollen before laying her eggs and sealing the holes with mud. We’d look for snakes sunning themselves on the rocks by the garden, lizards on the pile of old cedars shakes (our former roof) that we use for kindling, we’d see if the chickadees are nesting in the boxes in the trees, and peer at the coyote scat at the bottom of the driveway. The Kwanzan cherry is almost open. Everywhere the bees are humming, varied thrushes are whistling in the dense woods, and mornings open us, don’t they, so that we can hear each note.

Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.
–Basho

2 thoughts on “mornings”

  1. It seems someone ‘delivered’ the poor creature. Perhaps it had not been well and was easy prey for a cat.

    “and mornings open us, don’t they,” … oh yes Theresa. You’ve said it so well. The mornings really do open us. That is truly how I feel when waking just before 6am each morning with the rich mandarin blanket glowing on the horizon and bird serenading its presence.

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