I look at the empty entrance of the owl box and feel only sadness, mostly for the male owl. There is still time for him to find another mate, but disappointment weights on me right now. I have not heard him during the night and can’t find him roosting in the wax leaf ligustrums.
The last morning of February feels like the first day of spring. The redbud is finally beginning to bloom, surrounded by a circle of elegant white irises. A squirrel perches on the walnut tree stump, teasing Daisy who watches from the deck. The owl looks outside his box, catching the morning light.
December is an in-between time here, not fall and not winter. Autumn lingers, its golden mornings stretching through December. Here and there, a sudden cold front snaps us all to attention, freezing plants forgotten outside and reminding us to dig out warm coats and boots.