Cold—the porch boards pop under my feet. A yearling doe walks by with her fur puffed out. But the stream’s gurgle remains unmuffled by ice.

Wind roars on the ridgetop; dervishes of snow in the yard. A loud rending—some trunk or limb—and I hold my breath waiting for the crash.

Bitter wind, and a skim of new snow fills in the dips and wrinkles, making the icy snowpack look young again. The screech of a jay.

Yesterday’s slush has set like poorly mixed concrete, and the road’s slick as glass. The Carolina wren sings a song I’ve never heard before.

The predicted icestorm has yet to start. Long minutes pass between the distant noise of engines. A raven croaks. The stream’s slow trickle.