A few patches of snow linger in the woods, incongruous as the first flowering shadbush trees will seem. A scatter of raindrops on the roof.

An inch of new snow and a bitter wind. Daffodils droop like old balloons. A white-throated sparrow’s song pauses and resumes one octave up.

Sunny and cool. A small brown moth flies past, fluttering hard against the wind. From the interstate to the west, the whine of a speed bike.

At sunrise, the steady drumming of rain on the roof. Buds have burst on the lilac bush–a cloud of intense green against the brown woods.

Mild and overcast. A ladybug flies by, red elytra raised like the doors on a DeLorean. A red-tailed hawk glides low through the treetops.

The daffodils laid low by wind and cold are slowly righting themselves in the strong sunlight. From the east, the sound of heavy machinery.

It’s cold. Small groups of leaves scurry this way and that. The machine-gun rattle of a downy woodpecker on an especially hard hollow limb.

After hard rain in the early hours, the sky is a patchwork of light and dark. The wail of a freight train is faintly audible above the wind.

In the soft light of a half-hidden sun, the old red maple beside the road is ruddy with blossoms. The sound of teeth chiselling a walnut.

Clear and cold. The continual, waxy chatter of goldfinches, their plumage now a patchwork of winter’s dull green and summer’s crayon yellow.

One wood frog still calls in the marshy corner of the field, late for the orgy. Under the porch railing, the first, tiny spiders of spring.

The sun shines through gauzy clouds, giving the morning a faded-photo effect. A squirrel drinks from the stream. A cowbird’s liquid note.

Sunrise, and seven species of birds are calling—but not the phoebe, who flies in and out of the old nest under the springhouse eaves.

Before sunrise, I’m fascinated by the yard’s labyrinth of dead grass, that tangled thatch. A robin warbles for a while and falls silent.

Backlit by the sun, the one branch of marcescent oak leaves at the woods’ edge looks like a bough of orange flowers, old before their time.

At mid-morning, a low, heavy cloud ceiling that muffles sound. The first snowflakes wander in, accompanied by a song sparrow’s jaunty tune.