I suggested going for a walk to my family and to my surprise they took me up on it. We bundled up and drove to a favorite trail that runs along the lake shore. We plodded in single file over the icy path still strewn with fallen branches from a late December ice storm.
It was even colder than I had expected. Maddy was shivering. I reminded her that cold was really a 'non thing'. It was merely the absence of heat, so in a sense you couldn't actually feel 'cold'. I don't know if it helped.
We trudged on.
Last week our annual Christmas Day dog walk with Farley and Claire, along this same trail, had to be cancelled because of the storm. It didn't seem very magical without them.
Then in a clearing, off in the distance, we saw a man standing completely still in the snow . He appeared to be feeding birds, right out of his hand. We approached slowly not wanting to disturb what was going on. However, even when we got closer we could see birds continuing to come to feed, one at a time and then quickly fly away. It was magical.
They were chickadees, he told us. He came there most winter days to feed them. They seemed so tame and yet they were wild. We stood right beside him and watched spellbound. After a while I asked if he thought someone else might be able to feed them the same way . He said he thought so and offered us some seed. I took off my glove and he poured some into my hand. I stretched out my arm and waited. My hand got cold very quickly.
After a short while of standing perfectly still, a tiny, delicate, trembling, fleck of feathered life flew in and, perching on my palm for a brief moment, fed from my hand. It was more than magical.
Maddy then tried her hand at feeding the Chickadees.