Warm and clear. As the morning wears on, the traffic noise from over the ridge diminishes, leaving only the field sparrow’s ascending song.

In the warm sun at the woods’ edge, a groundhog gathers a mouthful of dried leaves and dives into her burrow. Far-off cries of tundra swans.

A yellow smear of sun on the white-bread sky. The distant knocks of a pileated woodpecker seeking admittance to frozen galleries of ants.

A half inch of snow—just enough to make the ground mirror the flat-white sky. A chickadee sings his two-note, minor-key song.

My ears are still adjusting to the lack of urban noise. Crow, chickadee, red-bellied woodpecker. The stream’s slow gurgle under the yard.

Cold (-6C). The wind drives pin-pricks of snow against my cheek. I squint at the sun through bare oak branches. It’s good to be back.

Dear friends, I am migrating north and 3000 miles east for the winter. I will be back at the beginning of March, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Thanks for reading, and remember, if you miss your Morning Porch fix, you can always stop by and check out the previous years’ entries in the sidebar. Have a great winter.