Warm, overcast and damp. The last bit of bark on the dead elm tree glows pale green on the outer half of a limb, a four-fingered glove.
A dusting of snow on every branch and twig. In the half-dark, kinglets bob in the top of a black birch—their high, thin calls.
The male cardinal lands on a top branch of the lilac and sits nearly motionless for ten minutes, an odd red triangle against the woods.
Snow blowing sideways. As the wind changes direction, two dead trees fallen onto the living take turns complaining: first eeee, then ahhh.
Sleet rattles on roof and garden, yard and road, weeds and woods, like seasoning from some indiscriminate eater of a bare-bones feast.
At the bend of the road where the trail enters the woods, a flock of juncos chittering and picking small stones for their crops.
Cloudless at sunrise, and the yard a-glitter with frost. It’s dead silent, save for the stream’s gurgle and a raven croaking high overhead.