by M. L. A.
Volume 10, 1899, pg. 806
pgs 801-805 still need typing.
feeding of its own little wheel of appetite. Again (for no migratory instinct would seem to trouble him), does the Creeper become the solitary small brown presence that haunts our quietest walks in winter. He goes on, footing it hardily through bitterest frost of Christmas time (a date no doubt unknown to birds, and not generally merry for them) when skaters spin over the ice below his slope of trees. And, secure upon his upright plane, the snows that fall and clog the land, and dishearten and starve non-creeping birds, affect him not at all. M. L. A.
Nature Notes For December.
Whenever the last month of the year is mild and open, late survivals of the past autumn linger on to greet the early harbingers of next year's spring. Ivy, which is perhaps most truly the last flower of the year, may still bear large bosses of bloom, to be on sunny days the meeting place and feasting place of all the flies and winged creatures that are tempted by warmth out of their winter holes. Still, even ivy will have its terminal umbels gone to fruit, and it will be only the lower and smaller ones that, bearing stamens, are not yet beyond the flowering stage. Some lingering Crepis or Hieracium may yet show a yellow disc, and daisies abound in cut lawns.
In the gardens, not one or two, but many species of spring flowers may develop and open their foremost buds. In the hedgerows of some Decembers, hazel catkins may be hanging limp and open; at the very end of the month, one may even, in occasional years, find the tiny bunches of little crimson tongues, that are the pistils.
Mosses begin to thrive once more in the damp, after the terrible summer they have experienced: there is an opposite to the proverb, "'Tis an ill wind," that might run, "Ne'er a sunny day but hurts someone." One may note in winter how there is nothing so barren in nature as to be without its dependents. Even the bare ash tree, whose fruit, as far as I know, no bird will eat, fosters life about it; for where it uprears itself by a dry stone wall, on which nothing but the greyest lichens and Racomitriums (woolly moss) will grow, there nourished by its drip, are thick round bosses of Dicranums and Hypnums, with topping sprays of the evergreen polypody fern.
Proofread July 2011, LNL
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