It’s the DAY OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE. I got up early this morning to be sure I was awake for the exact moment of the solstice, which was scheduled for 7:04 a.m. I was sitting at the kitchen table sipping my morning tea, when I heard a great crash and other loud sounds from outside the sliding glass door. I figured a big load of snow had just fallen off the porch roof, but then I heard thrashing and fluttering and spotted a RUFFED GROUSE huddled right up against the glass door looking in at me. It had flown through the top part of the screen door and trapped itself inside the screened porch. I woke Bob up, and by the time he was dressed, the grouse had fluttered over to the far corner toward the garden. He had to chase it around a bit before he finally caught it and put it outside, where it huddled against the house for a while. It could fly and didn’t seem seriously injured, so we just left it alone while we drove over to Shelburne during the early stages of a snowstorm to visit Johanne in her new condo. The roads were terrible the whole way over and worse on the way back. By the time we got home, the snow was piling up and the grouse was gone. What a way to celebrate the winter solstice!