The chickadee hears squirrels chattering alarm at a hawk and freezes in the mouth of her half-finished hole, dark eyes darting all about.
Sunny but still cold at 9:00. A fly walks slowly up a porch column. Water gurgles in the ditch. Three kinds of sparrows trade songs.
Only the tail-tip of the chickadee now protrudes from the dead cherry tree, and I can barely hear it hammering at the rotten heartwood.
A phoebe perched high in a red maple shakes rain from its feathers, its tail twitching up and down, up and down among the dark red blooms.
Pausing every few minutes for a lightning-quick copulation, a pair of downy woodpeckers circle a walnut tree trunk and probe its bark.
While one chickadee digs out their den, pecking at the rotten cherry wood, its mate waits atop the stump, grooming its pale breast feathers.
A wild turkey gobbling on the far ridge. Two field sparrows trade calls, notes rising as they accelerate like engines being revved up.
Back from migration, a Louisiana waterthrush sings above the trickle of a stream. Chickadees excavate a den hole in the dead cherry stump.
A warm morning. When the sun goes in, the birds at last grow quiet, and I can hear wood frogs calling down in the boggy corner of the field.
As my father walks out of the woods, a rabbit bursts from a rosebush and dashes under the porch. A zebra spider circles the rim of my mug.
The phoebe sings lustily for the first time in days, hawking flies on the sunny side of the barn. Bits of cattail down rise from the marsh.
Soft light filtered by a film of cloud. A squirrel carrying a freshly exhumed walnut bounds under the broken dog statue and into the lilac.
All up the hillside, the glossy leaves of mountain laurel shimmer in the sun and wind. Minute snowflakes from who knows where pelt my cheek.
In contrast to the clouds, the snowbank beside the driveway is shrunken and gray, like something left too long at the back of the fridge.
Rain just past, the gray sky brightens above the eastern and western horizons. A titmouse descends singing into the lilac.
Where yesterday the hillside was mostly white, now it’s mostly brown, and the dawn chorus is twice as loud with the addition of one robin.