Snow fell at the start of this week. Only a thin layer, but enough to cause the blackbirds to stand out against the now-white Pyracantha hedge that marks the boundary between the vicarage garden and the church grounds, yellow-orange berries behind the vicarage, red-orange berries to the side, where there is a little gate, for my convenience. In the breeding season, blackbirds are territorial; but in the winter, when the temperatures plummet and the snow falls, they become more gregarious. Returning from the church yesterday, I found the hedge alive with a flock of blackbirds, in their first year, the males still with brown beak, not yet goldenrod, nor yet bespectacled in the same, darting and beating their wings, standing sentinel on the top bar of the gate. And I was surprised by joy.
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