A Patch of Bare Grass

My desk, where I am sitting right now, faces a window that looks out to our back yard. I got home from work a few minutes ago and I came here to set up my laptop. As I opened the window blinds, I was amazed to see part of our patio bare of snow, and, what’s more, even a small patch of yellow muddy grass!

This may not seem incredible to most people on the Wasatch Front, who have had bare ground for a while now, but to me, here in the canyon, it is astounding. Our yard has been buried in feet of snow since December. We used snowshoes a month ago to go out there to check our propane tank and get something out of the shed.  Just last week we received three days of snow dumping, bad enough that one evening last week our neighbor, who conveniently for us owns a backhoe, used it to help clear out our street and even one of our driveways.

So I was somewhat heartened by this little observation of melting snow, and was sitting here by myself thinking that it was remarkable enough that I ought to compose a little sentence or two about it for twitter and/or facebook, when I saw movement out on the snow. My first thought was one of dread: it must be a rat. The shape I saw was about the right size for a rat, and we saw one living on and swimming in the river by our house last fall. I peered into the waning evening light and soon caught sight of the movement again. Standing right in the middle of the newly revealed patch of grass was a fat red-breasted robin, and it was yanking a worm out of the ground. In the few minutes since then, I have seen this robin flying around our backyard with yet another robin. I couldn’t see very well in the evening light, but I think my first robin was fighting the other robin for this precious territory. Now the robin is sitting in our pine tree, making quite a pleasant chattering and squawking racket.

I’m going to try to resist giving voice to the sentiment that no doubt we are all thinking right now.

They are flying around again. I can now see that one of the robins is smaller and not so colorful. There is also a definite call and response going on with their chirping, too. I’m thinking now that what I’m privy to is probably less a fight than it is a tumultuous courtship.

I’m not going to say any more until all the snow is gone and there are buds on the trees.

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