Awake in the early hours, creeping from coffee pot to computer, I spy a gift above the tree line that makes the weary day ahead less bitter: suspended above the melting lake, a nearly-full moon hangs, indifferent to the madness of humans below. I watch whisps of clouds caught in the air current, silent travelers buffeting the moon. A southerly breeze moves them up the Eastern seaboard toward Washington County and the Bay of Fundy beyond.

The night train, Old Faithful, has woken Moxie (our youngest Malinois) in the middle of the night again. After a trip to the backyard, we are in bed again, heads buried into pillows against the inevitability of morning. Moxie gives the household time to make some progress toward catching slumber where we left it before he wakes us again. The cause? A skein of geese slipstreaming through the night, sounding their return to familiar waters with raucous and nasal honks.

Mid-March is full upon us, and each day I hear new birdsong, see old friends back again. Geese. Red-winged blackbirds. Grackles. Eastern bluebirds. The birds that have over-wintered are becoming more active, focused on mating and nest building. I look forward to seeing who claims the nest under the deck this year – phoebes or robins.

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