At sunrise, one shaft of sun reaches all the way through the woods to illuminate the end of the springhouse. The western ridge glows orange.
The barberry bush, still red with fruit, is heavy with a second crop of snow. From its depths, a white-throated sparrow’s plaintive song.
The snowstorm slows down just after daybreak, as if drawing its breath. I hear my mother on her back porch yelling at the squirrels.
The dark strips laid bare by the snow plow pullulate with juncos. One silhouette is different, bouncier, twitchier: the Carolina wren.
A wet snow has turned the trees Victorian, every last twig edged with filigree. The only sound from the valley is the rumbling of trains.
White above and below. But looking more closely, I see the tracks of mice forced to leave the house to forage for weed seeds in the garden.
Despite the wind, yesterday’s snow still clings to the trees, like the sleep I keep trying to rub from my eyes. A wren’s ascending rattle.
As the predicted snow begins, my parents’ bird feeders grow loud with chittering. An eddy of wind carries the distant snarl of a chainsaw.
Two degrees below freezing, and the sky an almost uniform white except for a wrinkling in the east, like the brow of a corpse. Two crows.
The excited yelling of my young niece, out tracking animals in the snow with her grandmother. A Carolina wren scolds from the lilac bush.
Loud traffic sound from the west. A downy woodpecker keeps interrupting his tapping to take short, zigzagging flights among the trees.
A cold, gray morning. Up in the woods, a chickadee’s two-note song prompts a cardinal to join in. The sun’s hiding place begins to glow.
A raven croaks somewhere above the ridge. Snow fine as flour. A Brownian cloud of small birds scuds over the treetops: pine siskins.
Cold and clear. My hat pulled down to block the sun, tree shadows on the snow help me gauge not only the time but the sky’s depth of blue.
A sharp-shinned hawk careens into a ditch beside a barberry bush where seven small birds have fled. It sits in the snow, eying them up.
The snowpack glitters in the sun. The soft chirps of foraging sparrows. A single jet trailing a short contrail in an otherwise empty sky.