A faint dust of frost on the old goldenrod stalks along the creek. A crow chases a crow, yells breaking in the middle like a boy at puberty.
The temperature is back below freezing, and the road is a ribbon of ice. I watch the treetops rocking in the wind and think of sea anemones.
Thick fog. Snow melt-water drips onto the porch roof. A sudden scrabbling of squirrel claws on locust bark—that waterfall sound.
A red-bellied woodpecker descends an arched locust limb tap by tap, its tail sweeping off the new snow—white puffs against the white sky.
A new half-inch of snow returns the yard to blankness and hides the driveway ice. Neat hoof prints stretch and skew wildly into a slide.
A flat white sky; no wind. A pair of ravens fly low over the house, their croaks echoing off the ridge. The wrens chitter back and forth.
The trees creak in the wind, casting only the thinnest of shadows. My breath freezes into two small icicles at the bottom of my beard.
Freezing rain and sleet have turned the snow as rough as a lizard’s skin. A wren hops through the lilac, poking at the ground with his bill.
Three mourning doves disturbed by a foraging squirrel take flight. Like fast notes blown on a shakuhachi, the whistling of their wings.
A high-pitched barking at sunrise. Three lost dogs come running through the mountain laurel, metal tags jangling around their necks.
The croak of a raven followed by a tree popping in the cold, loud as a gunshot. A chickadee flits through the branches of a birch, singing.
Dozens of juncos flit through the bushes. The old brown retriever that I’m dog-sitting watches from the porch, her nose quivering.
As daylight gathers, the sky goes from white to gray. A train whistle trailed by its rumble of freight. The distant propellers of a plane.
Steady rain. The corners of the yard still glisten dully with the pellet ice that fell in the night.
A squirrel tumbles out of the big maple and catches itself in the top of a locust sapling, tail wrapping around the branch like a fifth leg.
The sun flickers as thin clouds drift past. In the otherwise still meadow, one bent head of brome grass is swaying.