Life at the Lake

a diary of living at a small lowland lake


Early moonrise over Lake Ketchum

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They are back! The snow geese are back!


Yep, the snow geese are back, clotting the winter fields by the thousands, and so are many of the other winter birds. Yesterday morning two swans cruised by$mdash;unusual because we rarely see them on water, though they are well designed for swimming. They may have been tundra swans, or else quite young trumpeters: both have a beige cast, and are hard to tell apart by less than superficial signs.

Bigger than a goose, smaller than a heron, the trumpeter/tundra swans have similar arch necks. I've been trying to draw them for weeks. My first herons looked much like geese. Never could get that beautiful crook to the neck. But, ah, I shall call those ill-drawn birds swans now. But then the shape of the head isn't right. . . .

Geese crook their necks, too. (Morris Graves did a beautiful drawing of angry geese while in Ireland, and caught the crook just right; if you've seen a reproduction, you won't forget it, either.)

The swans appeared quickly and disappeared just as fast. My eye already longs for them, though my eye (and memory) caught the pyramidal shape of their forehead just right.

I shan't forget it, it is so noble.

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Misty dawn over the lake, facing East


We've had a lot of rain, sure, but we've had a lot of sunshine, too. And that makes for a pretty good start of winter—though it is still autumn, I know.

Winter ought to start the day after Halloween. And it ought to end with the start of the first spring-like weather that starts around here, in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, the last week in February. True, the past couple of years have been exceptions then, with blustery weather continuing well through March and into April. But I remember the end of February that mimicked mid-spring and was shirt-sleeve weather.
Not awfully different from what we are having now, come to think about it.

Hey, weather matters when you live on a lake, whether it is tossing and turning, or calm and flat, as in the picture above. Would you rather have me talk about the Presidential election?

I thought not. We are all full to the gills with that.

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