Cold—the porch floorboards pop under my feet. Real snow at last! The rising sun stretches two faint fingers across the driveway.
Each blanketing of snow so far this winter has happened while we slept. How superstitious to insist that it all must’ve fallen from the sky!
Trees rock and sway, infiltrated by snowflakes flying this way and that. From deep in the lilac, the wandering warble of a tree sparrow.
Cold rain drips in the pre-dawn darkness. The wail of a locomotive sounds frighteningly close and full of an obscure, mechanical longing.
My new glasses have some sort of prismatic coating. I turn my head and see a rainbow-banded sun rising east-northeast among the pines.
I bring no hat brim or sunglasses to my front-porch tete-a-tete with the sun, grateful on such a cold morning for any display of warmth.
An hour before dawn, the half-moon is a sideways emoticon among a scatter of bright pixels. A screensaver takes over and the yard goes dark.
Wind-driven snow; I draw my hood tight. On the wall behind me, the thermometer’s big red arrow inches left like a clock running backward.
Cool and damp. The low-hanging clouds catch on the treetops. Crows signal their locations with almost every wingbeat.
Hard frost, as they say—but up close, it’s spikes and needles. As if in the absence of snow the ground grows its own fur against the cold.
My brother’s gray truck parked out front makes the house seem diminished and sad, like a boat stranded miles from the sea.
A call half-cackle, half-whinny: red-bellied woodpecker. I spot him in the sunlit crown of a locust, round red head beside a hole.
A wren sits grooming itself in the sun on the peak of the springhouse roof, fluffing out its breast feathers, probing under its wings.
If I hold my head perfectly still, I can watch the sun move through the winter woods, climbing from limb to limb toward the untrammeled sky.
Clear sky, bright sun, and the temperature well above freezing. A crow’s shadow scuds over what’s left of the snow like a dark promise.
A steady hum of traffic from over the ridge spoils the pre-dawn quiet, just as the snow on the ground sullies the darkness.