Cinnamon in the Winter

Dear Nature,

Cinnamon is a warm spice, conjuring up comforting scents of apple pies baking in the oven-heated kitchen and spice-scented candles burning on the mantel.

The common eider is a winter sea duck, the most ‘common’ duck we just saw at Napatree on New Year’s Day. The drake male is a dapper combination of black & white, with bright flashes of yellow-green and orange. The female is much less dramatic as is usually the case in the bird kingdom. I think she is quite lovely, all warm and cinnamony, bobbing along in the cold, blue winter sea.

With Love, Kelly

Quinnebaug Nest

Dear Nature,
One of the things I love about winter is that I can see the bones of trees. And exposed in their branches, little treasures that are usually, and purposefully, hidden amongst summer’s leaves. Nests. Abandoned now in the grip of winter’s chill. I can hear the faint, ghostly chirps of new life the nest hosted last summer. With beaks opened wide, the chicks sensing a parent arriving at the nest with a fat squirming caterpillar!

I wonder where they are now and if they will return with the warm yellow-greens of spring.

With Love, Kelly


Dear Nature,
On this date several years ago, I chased a bird. Not just any bird, a magical, rare visitor from the far North, a snowy owl. I’m not a birder that chases every rare bird reported; I don’t like to be in a crowd of birdwatchers. I prefer my wildlife encounters by chance rather than by design. But a snowy owl…

It was a very cold, blustery Jan. 6th, our group was quite small, watching the owl on the roof of a residence. As the day was coming to a close, it flew to the nearby marsh, conveniently in front of an Audubon viewing platform! We watched in frozen, hushed awe as the sunset washed the owl and the surrounding ice and marsh grasses in the colors of a muted sunset rainbow. What a gift.

With Love, Kelly

Carolina Wren in the Snow

Dear Nature,
I have a pair of Carolina wrens who are roosting in an old silver teapot turned into windchimes, complete with spoons and forks as the chimes! Clever spunky little birds! They were not a bird of my childhood, my first memories of them are of waking up to their song in the early dawn hours in Charleston, S.C. where I was attending a show. My ‘first bird’ – first bird I hear in the morning. 

With the changing climate, they are now in my backyard year round.

I was overjoyed when one became my ‘first bird’ here,  though it meant a dawn wake-up call of loud, quick whistling notes, some describe as a 3-part “teakettle.” Fitting that they have taken over the silver teakettle!

With Love, Kelly

Winter Woods

Dear Nature,
The woods are a very special place for me. I go to the woods pretty much every day. In the woods I walk, I think, I smell and I listen. It is my peace for the day.  I ‘bathe’ in its essence and I come home refreshed and calm.

Without know it I was already practicing  what the Japanese call ‘shinrin-yoku’ which loosely translates to ‘forest bathing’ or ‘absorbing the forest atmosphere.

Thank you Nature for the opportunity to slow down – be in the moment, to immerse ourselves in your embrace and take a ‘bath’ in the forest, I’m all the better for it.

With Love, Kelly

Memories of Summer

Dear Nature, 
I surround myself with your artifacts; rocks, shells, leaves and faded memories from my summer gardens.

On a cold day in January I draw a dried seed head from one of my prized tree peonies. As I sketch curves and hatch shadows in strokes of dark brown ink (made from the soot of burning red pine) my mind conjures up an image of dark salmon petals surrounding a crown of yellow stamens. I can feel the warmth of a summer sun on my face, I can smell a faint scent of green and I can hear the humming buzz of a bumble bee dancing in the sun.

On a cold day in January, I dream of summer.

With Love,  Kelly


Dear Nature,
It’s always a good day when I get out to look for birds. Today was a great day as we saw a bald eagle! But I must confess, I spend as much time with my eyes on the ground as I do to the sky. I never know what gifts of yours are hidden in plain sight.

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”

–Emily Dickinson

With Love, Kelly