Winter came in today. It was cold and sunny this morning, so we went out with Ozzie for our usual walk through the fields with Dana and Rudy. A very large red-tailed hawk flew low over us, landed in a tree and kept his eye on us and we walked past. Or maybe he was just keeping his eye on Rudy....

Back at home, as the weather began closing in. I sat looking out the window at the bird feeder, which was in great demand. The goldfinches fluttered from the trees looking for all the world like the last of the autumn leaves fluttering to the ground. The temperatures are wintry, and there is a scarcity of food elsewhere. Every now and again the entire flock would fly off as if hit by a sudden gust of wind, but the next time I looked up, they would have made their way back to their allotted spaces on the feeder or in the trees behind it.

An interview with Bill Clinton I heard today as I sat watching the birds had quite a profound effect on me. Because their terms as presidents of their respective countries overlapped, the two men met quite often. While Obama calls Mandela a role model, Clinton acknowledged Mandela as mentor and friend. When Clinton asked Mandela if he hated the men who were responsible for his imprisonment, Mandela said that if he were to cling to that hatred, he would still be a prisoner.

In the afternoon, as it was beginning to rain, Ann, my neighbor who grew up in South Africa, came by for tea and we talked about our families and about the passing of Nelson Mandela. I said that I felt that his capacity for forgiveness was what set him apart from other great men. She said she felt not only sad but a bit homesick.

It is dark now, and I can hear the rain pouring down on the roof--the first "real" rain since last January.

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