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.
The snow seems on the verge of stopping for several hours. The trees turn white. My guests go out and return with snow in their hair.
Sunrise turns the western ridge crimson. Chickadees and titmice flit through the branches, calling, while we stand snapping pictures.
A few flakes come swirling out of the woods. A dried oak leaf lies on the porch floor like a sad umbrella or a mouse with too many legs.
Parallel relics of the plow, the only snow yet to go glows in the dim light. A song sparrow by the spring house sings his spring song.
The ongoing warmth and rain have reduced the snow to scattered patches. Above the roar of the creek, a flock of goldfinches whistling.
Warm rain. Fog rises from the melting snowpack, lifting and sinking in obedience to imperceptible changes in the air.