As is much of eastern Canada and the US, it’s very cold here. The porch thermometer reads -20C. Going outside for more than a few minutes means the cold bites fingers, toes, nose, ears. The dogs, even outdoorsman Achilles, spend very little time out. The furnace is doing yeoman work keeping the living room not-cold. I once thought of traveling to Churchill or Yellowknife during a winter, to experience true cold. That’s no longer necessary.

Yet we are blessed. We do have a working furnace, food in the cupboard, our pipes are not frozen, we have reliable electricity. I do appreciate all of these blessings and the many more we have.

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I sometimes think of the White-breasted Nuthatch as the clown of the songbirds. It moves upside down. It wears a distinctive, funny suit. It has a funny little call, surveys the scene by turning its head every which way. Flits down to snatch a seed then quickly retreats to the safety of a nearby tree to open and devour its prize.

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