The only tracks on the road are mine, and the only clouds are right where the sun is. I hear heavy wingbeats followed by a raven’s croak.
Cold again after yesterday’s thaw. A mourning dove flutters down into the lilac, gets settled on a branch and closes its eyes.
From down-hollow, a pileated woodpecker comes yelling straight over the house, lands and falls silent, joining its mate to forage for grubs.
Birds flutter back and forth across the yard to drink the dark water of the spring. The frigid air glitters with scattered snowflakes.
The cellophane-crinkling sound of ice-sheathed branches swaying in the wind gradually gives way to the clatter of falling fragments.
A sharp-shinned hawk careens out of the woods, dives for a junco, misses. It lands on a locust limb and ruffles its feathers.
Clear and very cold. The wind has erased all tracks but its own, and the trees’ etiolated shadows rock back and forth like trauma survivors.
A few small birds are among the sideways-flying snowflakes. From the tops of the pines, two blue jays issue their usual denunciations.
Shrunk in the cold, the porch floorboards pop loudly when I come out. In my snowshoe tracks below the porch, a scattering of rabbit pellets.
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.