The four or five inches of rain that have fallen in the last day have me thinking that the garden is ready for conversion to rice paddies.

You would think that with all this rain, wild animals would have their fill of water. But goldfinches perched in the rain and carefully caught water drops from the underside of twigs. The birds would reach their heads down, below their feet, then twist to the side and scoop pendulous drops of water from under tree buds. The contrast between the elegance of the birds’ water-gathering and the disorganized squalling of the rain was striking.

Last night the rain turned to snow. Barely enough to dust a goldfinch’s knee, but wet enough to weigh down tree limbs.

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