Heavy frost blurs the difference between snow-free meadow and woods, where a white fur lingers. The distant stutter of a Jake-braking truck.

A barred owl calls in the bright sun. Snow meltwater starts dripping onto the porch roof—a simple rhythm that grows increasingly complex.

It’s still. The birds seem restless. Then the snow starts: mixed with sleet at first, then in big clumps, giving the ground a mottled look.

‪Sunny and cold. Wind hissing in the tops of the pines. The scattered calls of chickadees and nuthatches foraging at the edge of the woods.‬

‪Birds through a curtain of meltwater, like fish at an aquarium, are inhabitants of a parallel world, their locomotion liquid and miraculous.‬

Two inches of dry snow have just fallen and the sky is still full of vague menace, like that space on a tax form intentionally left blank.