New snow—already despoiled by deer digging for grass. I watch a red-bellied woodpecker inch down one side of a tree and inch up the other.
The last of the snow is gone, and the moss that lay under it for a week looks greener than ever. A distant train horn blows a minor chord.
It’s warm. Filmy-winged flies drift past the porch. A flock of geese arrows low over the house—the wft wft wft of their great wings.
Small birds appear as they fly past, and the sun, too, emerges only to vanish a second later, the fog turning from yellow back to white.
Crow talks to crow in crow-talk, says “Crow!” The third crow says “Eat!” (It is just warm enough for carrion to be carried off.)
A dark heap on the snow where a squirrel husked a walnut. Two gunshots in quick succession. Soon the mountain will be dotted with gut piles.
A rattling rain of ice from the pear tree out back where a squirrel forages. Bird tracks in the snow below the porch end with wing-prints.
I bathe in the idea of sun more than in the sunlight itself—feeble and without much warmth. A woodpecker beats his head against a dead tree.
A maze of squirrel and sparrow tracks between ice-covered tufts of grass glittering in the sun. Down in the valley, a siren starts up.
The sun! Rising through treetops turned to blazing crystal. The red-bellied woodpecker foraging for breakfast sounds distinctly unimpressed.
Ice storm aftermath: bent trees and broken limbs that couldn’t withstand the sky’s smothering embrace. A tinny rattling when the wind blows.
The silence of steadily falling snow, punctuated by the tapping of a downy woodpecker and the distant scolding of a squirrel.
Despite the cold, a song sparrow warbles in the bushes. Inside, a shrill chirp from the smoke alarm—a dying battery’s swan song.
Parallel lines of arrows where a sparrow hopped through the new snow. The sharp-edged shadows of the trees are a blacker blue than the sky.
A bitter wind. Stripes of sunlight on the wet leaf duff glisten like slug trails, while in the west, a bank of black clouds moves in.
There’s a shimmer in the air: rain fine as the hair on a woman’s back. The wet tree trunks are scrofulous with lichen.