A lively discussion of politics, with occasional asides on the folly of creating a résumé for a pre-schooler, torture, homogeneous societies and 1984’s Big Brother were swirling around but I was no longer listening. A movement in the tree outside of the dining room window had caught my eye. I scanned the tree where I had seen the bird fly. Sure that it was a Downy, I was looking for the familiar black and white. It did not re-appear. I took a sip of coffee and tuned back into the conversation.
It was one of those raw dreary gray winter days. The book group meeting last week had been postponed because of a snowstorm. This week there was talk of an ice storm but we had come to Molly’s to talk about 1000 Splendid Suns anyway.
I looked out the window again checking for signs of precipitation. At the first drop, I was prepared to bolt for the mountain in the hope of beating the storm.
Again, I saw something. I watched for it to come around from the backside of the tree, expecting to see the Downy Woodpecker.
“BROWN CREEPER! There is a brown creeper.”
Many of the women in my book group are also birders. They jumped up and came around the table to look out the window too. The small brown bark-colored bird obliged with a slow spiral up the tree and out onto a slanted branch. Everyone had good looks.
I am fond of Brown Creepers. There was a time when I rarely saw them. But living on the mountain I see them frequently, most often in winter, usually in the woods, and sometimes in my backyard. I had never seen one in a suburban neighborhood. It was not a life bird or even a year bird, but it was definitely a good bird for a raw day in winter.