Rain falls and snow melts. It is early and perhaps winter is not over, but shrinking snow and song birds chasing each other in lust says it is. The last snowfall had the heft of spring snow, not the downy consistency of a winter storm. Enough bare ground exists for the woodcock to have returned, but the ground is still frozen hard and the likelihood of their proboscis poking into the soil to find the necessary protein is unlikely.
The dogs sleep. Waiting is easy when you sleep. Soon the woodcock will return and during the early weeks, before their nesting season, the dogs will search them out to point a few, which is great early spring fun.
Melting snow causes hurrying flooded streams. Trout fishing will come as the water slows and returns to the confines of its banks. Flies can be tied in the meantime. Down by the stream below the house a grouse flushed a few days ago, leaving behind tracks in the snow. Fly fishing passes the time between bird seasons and gives an excuse to search for grouse and woodcock cover.
The rain continues. Neither dog has moved for hours, even when a log shifted and clunked in the woodstove. It is easy to envy them.
When the rain stops and going outside is again a possibility, maybe a grouse can be heard drumming.