Nature Notes: ’Twas the Night...

The Bonackers' Carol

’Twas the night before Christmas, quiet and calm, 
the creatures that live here were cozy and warm,
The fall had been freakish, the leaves didn’t fall,
until after Thanksgiving, when they dropped one and all.
By mid-December some shrubs had turned yellow, 
forsythia was blooming, what, global warming?
The traffic of summer had slowed to a crawl,
The Bonackers were happy, one and all,
They had their land back, all to their liking.
They were out gathering firewood, a few even hiking!
The clams in the mud and the oysters above.
The waters were calming, full of God’s love
The gulls, gliding and circling, brushed off the cold.
They love the winter, both the young and the old.
Seals lolled on the rocks close to the shore.
Loons swim under water for the minnows galore.
Seals, grebes, and loons have the seas for their own.
They cavort and frolick, as one or alone.
The white-tailed deer are fat and jolly.
In Montauk they slip through the beech and the holly.
In Wainscott, Northwest it’s the pines and the oaks.
They kept to themselves, out of sight of the folks.
Lo and behold, a coywolf slunk past, 
new to the Island, this one won’t be last.
Foxes and woodchucks, they come and they go.
The voles and the chipmunks stay under the snow.
The peepers and newts are nestled more deep;
they went down early for their long winter’s sleep. 
Raccoons and opossums steal through the night. 
The owls above them howl in delight.
The robins and bluebirds, a few stay around.
They flitter and twitter and hop o’er the ground.
Chickadees and titmice move feeder to feeder,
like Halloween children, they call on the seeder.
Only two of our birds sing through the winter: 
Mockingbirds ad-lib, Carolina wrens twitter.   
Not an insect is stirring, they’re all hibernating,
as in a very hot summer when they’re aestivating.
’Tis the season to walk through the lands hinter,
tick-free strolls in the quiet of winter.
 It’s the time when we humans can quash attitude,
a time when we can enjoy solitude.
Take off for Florida? That’s always a choice.
I’ll stay through the cold and forever rejoice! 

Larry Penny can be reached via email at