Bitter cold; even the sun looks brittle. I savor the silence, broken only by goldfinch warble and the scattered calls of robins.
Yesterday the wet ground glowed in subtle, late-autumn colors; now it’s blank white. Frost on the storm door—a map drawn with knives.
Over the drumming of rain on the roof, a white-throated sparrow’s quavering song. The fog settles in, gray and inescapable as secret police.
A whispering in the dried grass: not wind but sleet. A hawk materializes like a magician’s handkerchief and flies off through the trees.
Cold and still. Even with no snow, the light is already wintry: low-angled, flooding the open woods, illuminating the wings of small birds.
A titmouse taps in the rain gutter, its absurd crest buffeted by the wind. Scattered snowflakes dart this way and that as if on a mad hunt.
Cold, overcast and still. Two song sparrows with markedly different regional accents sing back and forth across the road.
Overcast and cold. On the south side of the house, an aster is still in bloom, its small constellation trembling in the wind.
Sunlight glistens on the ground where pockets of frost have melted and slides across a length of spider silk drifting through the yard.
Bands of cirrus that might’ve been contrails two hours ago are crossed by a helicopter, ponderous and loud, like an enormous scarab.
Siskins like moveable leaves in a bare birch. A squirrel chiseling a skull-hard walnut falls silent when it reaches the soft cerebrum.
A skim of snow on the springhouse roof glows faintly blue under the blue sky. The sun turns the old, limp lilac leaves into stained glass.
Over the wind, a faint music, as if from a distant woodwinds section: silhouetted against a cloud, a south-bound V of tundra swans.
Rain and fog. A dead branch gives way under the weight of seven jays, who fly up screaming as it crashes to the ground.
An inversion layer brings freight train and traffic noise to mix with rustling leaves, crow scold-calls, a chipmunk’s metronome. My music.
Warmer and overcast. The silhouettes of small birds feeding gregariously in the top of a black birch—goldfinches, I realize when they fly.