Sunny and warm; the air fills with insects. A sudden boom from the quarry two miles away. I feel the mountain tremble under my chair.
The fluting of geese—local residents or migrants? But then an undeniable sign of spring: two turkey vultures circling low over the house.
The resident naturalist emerges from the woods, white slacks and dark blue coat a perfect camouflage against the new snow and blue shadows.
A groundhog crosses the road and enters a burrow just cleared of snow. A song sparrow sings close enough that I can see his throat throb.
Is it my imagination, or do the juncos seem especially restless this morning? The distant roar of a military jet. A pileated taps on an oak.
By late morning, the snow begins to soften. I notice there’s hardly a spot in the yard where some animal hasn’t left a footprint.
Juncos rearrange themselves in the lilac—the scrabble of their feet. If nothing else, this winter has brought great stretches of silence.
Dialogue or mere coincidence? A crow calling from the ridge is answered syllable for syllable by a red-bellied woodpecker in the yard.
Fresh from drinking out of the cold stream, a chickadee swipes its bill rapidly against a twig, then goes to join the others in the birches.
The ballyhooed snowstorm begins slowly: temperature above freezing, and just a few, insouciant flakes melting on contact with the bare road.
Sallow sky; a yellow pustule of sun. In a tall oak, a pileated woodpecker bangs his head, attracting an entourage of smaller woodpeckers.
Two crows chasing a third from their territory stop in the woods above the house, the sun glistening on their glossy backs and wings.
Most of the mountain is still sealed under five inches of icy snowpack, but the wind goes down the plowed road, turning over all the leaves.
Buffeted by wind, I close my eyes and focus on the sun’s warmth as the archipelago of drifted snow rearranges itself around my chair.
The nasal alarm calls of nuthatches, one to the south and one to the north. The sun is a yellow stain on a white tablecloth. A silent raven.
Cold and bright. The trees stand in their melted pits, legacy of the recent thaw. I watch the wind shred a fast-moving cloud.