Two degrees below freezing and crystal clear. I worry for the tender young leaves of the peonies, paused mid-unfurl—translucent pink commas.

Snow showers: small flakes melting on contact with the ground. Only an old spiderweb on the porch preserves them, these ephemeral flies.

In the cold rain, a winter wren forages in the mud beside the creek, chirping excitedly and bobbing up and down on spring-loaded legs.

Deer follow their long-legged shadows through the trees. Three phoebes chase through the branches and three chipmunks through the leaf duff.

In a lull between showers, a squirrel re-buries a freshly disinterred walnut. Juncos sing as they forage, preparing for their journey north.

The stone wall chipmunk keeps sneaking onto the territory of the road bank chipmunk, then fleeing back across the yard—a striped blur.

The sun fades as the sky turns paler blue. I close my eyes to listen to the creek—after rain, like a room full of whispered conversations.