The tips of daffodil sprouts around the broken dog statue are starting to look a little worse for wear. The sound of a distant mob of crows.
After a cold night, the damp soil beside the stream has frozen into ranks of turrets. Sparrows forage among them for newly exposed seeds.
Four squirrels descend a tree in single file and disperse into the brush. The stream still runs high. A nuthatch rattles his anxiety cup.
Holes open and close in the fast-moving clouds. Where the snow has gone from the yard, a white eggshell rests on the flattened stiltgrass.
Over the rumbling of an oil truck, the cry of a gull far from the sea. I go to the edge of the porch and look: a V of gulls […]
Tundra swans are still migrating despite the bitter cold and wind; I hear them off to the north. A jet without a contrail gleams in the sun.
Fog and steady rain. A drenched gray squirrel bounds across what’s left of the snow and clears the rushing stream with a flying leap.
Sunny and warm; the air fills with insects. A sudden boom from the quarry two miles away. I feel the mountain tremble under my chair.
The fluting of geese—local residents or migrants? But then an undeniable sign of spring: two turkey vultures circling low over the house.
The resident naturalist emerges from the woods, white slacks and dark blue coat a perfect camouflage against the new snow and blue shadows.
A groundhog crosses the road and enters a burrow just cleared of snow. A song sparrow sings close enough that I can see his throat throb.
Is it my imagination, or do the juncos seem especially restless this morning? The distant roar of a military jet. A pileated taps on an oak.
By late morning, the snow begins to soften. I notice there’s hardly a spot in the yard where some animal hasn’t left a footprint.
Juncos rearrange themselves in the lilac—the scrabble of their feet. If nothing else, this winter has brought great stretches of silence.
Dialogue or mere coincidence? A crow calling from the ridge is answered syllable for syllable by a red-bellied woodpecker in the yard.
Fresh from drinking out of the cold stream, a chickadee swipes its bill rapidly against a twig, then goes to join the others in the birches.