CATHERINE, who stops sewing a snap to Darq’s new jacket: It’s when, on February 14, valentine cards, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between people, friends, husband and wives–and lovers–all in the name of St. Valentine.
DARQ: A saint? Ahh, this is one of your Christian traditions, is it?
CATHERINE: Part Christian, part Roman-pagan. Lots of history on it dealing with martyred St. Valentines (there were, I believe, three St. Valentines) — and a pagan fertility celebration called Lupercalia. You can go online and check the history at http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day.
DARQ: I’ll do that. (Darq leaves, She enters Catherine’s office where the computer is, and searches online. Half an hour later, Darq meets Catherine in the kitchen and looks at the wall calendar). Yoi, Catherine, I see you have Feb. 14 marked with a valentine’s heart, but why do you have Feb. 15-18 checked–and what’s the GBBC marked on those dates?
CATHERINE, not looking up from laying out the pattern on a pair of checkered slacks for Darq: It’s the Great Backyard Bird Count. I’ve been participating for the past few years. It’s a way for scientists to learn about bird migrations and gather other statistics on bird populations. You can go online and learn more at http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/.
DARQ: So, what’s involved in counting birds? Do you go someplace special?
CATHERINE: Not really. I usually stand at the kitchen door and look through the glass storm door at the deck feeder. I then ID what birds come to feed, and count them. Want to participate?
CATHERINE: Well then, instead of sleeping in, you better get up tomorrow morning when I set the feed out, and I’ll help you identify the “regulars.” Maybe we’ll even see a newcomer.
DARQ: How early is early?
CATHERINE: Oh, around 7:30 a.m.
DARQ, stifling a chuckle: That’s not all that early.
CATHERINE, looking up from the cup of coffee she’s stirring: It’s when there’s light enough to see.
DARQ: That it is. And, yes, I think I can manage to rouse myself out of bed, but you better have some black coffee at the ready.
*****Stop back and find out how Valentine’s Day went–and how Darq’s experience with the GBBC went. (Will Catherine have a new outfit made for Darq for the occasion?)