I never really believed in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, though the idea of them had a certain magic for me as a child. As a parent, I have enjoyed playing out these bits of theatre to mark the turning seasons, but even the magic by proxy of sharing them with my children has faded as they have grown older. And yet when the waxwings come, it feels like the arrival of some seasonal spirit: a visitation and a benediction. I never know when they will come, or even for sure if they will. The crabapple tree stands through the winter with its dark red fruit softening in the cold, untouched. Then one day, late in the winter, when other sources of food have grown scarce, the waxwings arrive. This year the first I knew of it was a shadow darting across the bathroom curtain, then another, and another. I pulled the cloth aside and saw them all over and around the tree, and my heart lifted. Some were perched here and there on the branches, pecking at the fruit. Some were down on the snow, eating the crabapples that others had knocked loose. Waxwings are lovely, sleek birds, delicately coloured. They fly gracefully, seeming to slide on the air. They are dignified rather than noisy for the most part, although I witnessed a brief dispute over a favoured perch on one of the times that day that I came to a window to watch them. I was grateful for their visit, and took the time to enjoy it, knowing that they would soon be gone, not to return until next year.