Helpless to Mercury's power: American robins feeding, intimidating passersby.

With the holidays bearing down so quickly you could be forgiven for overlooking all the woo-ooo that permeated the cosmos earlier this week.  Winter officially arrived with a  snowstorm and a lunar eclipse to do the advance work.   Unfortunately the former eclipsed the latter.  I was up at three in the morning to shovel snow and to hopefully steal a peek at a red winter moon.   I was successful with the former and not with the latter.

These planets and moons are causing havoc.  You readers are very bright and most of you know by now that the troublemaker Mercury has been in retrograde lately.  Affecting all transit and communications, the winged foot rascal is shaking the snow globe of our lives.  I can feel it – can you?   Why just yesterday I dropped my mail on the floor.  Further puzzling evidence of planetary mischief was noted when the Gang of Nearby House Sparrows that Guard the Barberries were not to be seen. 

In contrast today there were some two dozen American robins fattening up on hawthorn berries on the Baptist church lawn.   These robins were so numerous it was creepy in Hitchcock-esque kind of way.   They were on the ground picking fallen fruit out of the snow, in the hawthorn itself, and others oversaw the scene high up in the oaks.  It seems to me that there are more and more robins in the suburbs.  Of course, this opinion is purely anecdotal, but they’re all over the place.  

Later in my morning walk I happily spotted the Gang of Nearby House Sparrows, noisy once again on their barberry throne.   Yesterday I did not see or hear a single one.  Where were they?  Mercury – I suspect – is to blame.   Perhaps he is jealous of those with wings, and he monkeys around with their travels?  Perhaps he monkeys with their travels – just liked he forced the mail out of my hands onto the floor?    Perhaps I have been out in this cold air a little too long?  

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I have been a horticulturist for thirty years working in the Chicago area and beyond. I have lived in Oak Park for over thirteen years. My writing has recently appeared in the journal Ecological Restoration...

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