It's an unseasonably warm Christmas Eve, perhaps a gift to those who traveled to be with loved ones a distance away. For me, a day spent peacefully with my brother and sister-in-law and their family, enjoying watching the excitement of my great-niece and nephew as they work very hard at "waiting" for tomorrow's big event. Everything was quiet around the town and the magpies had only a few comments to make as they surveyed the branches of my flowering crab apple tree. While it is dormant for the winter, it has many freeze-dried apples on its twigs, and they are a favorite of my black-and-white friends. (They are best eaten from the tree, since the mule deer have devoured anything that fell to the ground.) The magpies seemed to have a leisurely day, soaring here and there rather than intently pursuing possible food sources. Life is so much better for them when there is no snow.
I stepped outside to tell them that it is nearly the new year, but this seemed to be of little importance to them. All they know is that the days are now a little longer, and that is good for hunting and gathering.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each and every one of them and to you, as well.