Drizzle on snow—a phrase that, moved to the kitchen, sounds almost enticing. Christmas has come early for a crow excited about the compost.

Bleary, I squint at a smudge of sun, watch squirrels running for hundreds of yards through the woods, feet almost noiseless on the soft ice.

Under a bright blue sky, the snowpack gleams like metal. The raspy cries of a jay. Trees rock in a sudden gust of wind, branches clattering.

As the clouds thin, the flat-white ground acquires a gloss. Trees grow tenuous shadows, improbably long and skinny on this shortest of days.

Thick hoarfrost gives the sun rising through the trees a soft, glittery nimbus, and the aging snowpack has regained the sparkle of youth.

January has come early: the icy snowpack hard as a brick, a squirrel already in heat. A pursuing male pauses to groom his face and genitals.

Steady rain; the frost in the windows has turned to fog. Juncos move through the weeds like a human crowd, a mix of the bold and the timid.