March 2017

Warm sun and an inversion layer bringing traffic noise from over the ridge. Cardinals and titmice compete with the whine of truck tires.

Cloudless and still. As the thermometer needle inches past freezing, the first bluebird of spring warbles once up by the barn.

Bright sun, bitter wind. With the snow almost gone, the neighbors’ chickens must be out of their coop: the rooster crows and crows.

Sunlight at half-strength on the half-gone snow. Behind the house, a squirrel twists and rubs itself ecstatically against a rotten stump.

Wet snow clings to every branch and twig, making the forest look almost as inviting as it does in early May when the leaves are half open.

Thick fog, and the road gray with sleet that fell in the night. Three red-bellied woodpeckers are whinnying back and forth in the treetops.

I take off my hat to sunbathe as icicles drop, turning the roof toothless. The brass section tunes up: jay, cardinal, song sparrow.