If the Owl Calls Again
By John Haines
at dusk from the island in the river, and it's not too cold, I'll wait for the moon to rise, then take wing and glide to meet him. We will not speak, but hooded against the frost soar above the alder flats, searching with tawny eyes. And then we'll sit in the shadowy spruce and pick the bones of careless mice, while the long moon drifts toward Asia and the river mutters in its icy bed. And when the morning climbs the limbs we'll part without a sound, fulfilled, floating homeward as the cold world awakens.
We all tried to sleep late on New Year's Day -- as late as the cats would let us, at any rate -- and didn't even remember to put on the Rose Parade before lunch. Our original plan for the afternoon was to meet my friend Annmarie at the National Gallery of Art to see the Pre-Raphaelite photography exhibit, but she discovered that the National Gallery was closed for the day, though the Smithsonian museums were not. So instead we met by the elephant at the National Museum of Natural History, along with my parents. We went through the dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, human evolution, insects, and some of the upper-level bone collections, though we all agreed that we prefer live animals (including the tarantulas and wolf spiders, though not in our basements). My mother got us all ice cream. We had thought we might walk down to the U.S. Botanic Garden to see the train exhibit before it closes, but we ended up staying at Natural History until it was nearly time for the Rose Bowl to start, which was just as well since the Capitol grounds were briefly evacuated when an unauthorized plane entered its airspace.
The smaller animal is a prehistoric horse; the larger one is a prehistoric tapir.
The remains of a Jurassic-era dragonfly.
The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, a huge exhibit by the Institute for Figuring to draw attention to the diversity of marine biology and the problems of global warming and human garbage.
A blue morpho butterfly inside the butterfly enclosure...
...outside the insect zoo, which is home to this hornworm, who will become a hummingbird moth.
This wolf spider lives there as well.
Here are my kids, husband, parents, and Annmarie outside the ocean hall.
After dropping my parents off at home, we had a moderate disaster -- someone had parked directly behind their driveway and Paul dented their passenger door pulling out (we left our info but still haven't heard from the car's owners or from our insurance agent). We watched most of the Rose Bowl while at my parents' while eating bagels, cheese, and assorted spreads for dinner, plus awesome pastries for dessert -- unfortunately Wisconsin didn't beat TCU, and it doesn't look like UConn is going to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, but hey, it's only football! At least the Capitals beat the Penguins in the Winter Classic...outdoor hockey, which as far as I'm concerned is how hockey should always be played.