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.
The wind has stripped the treetops of most remaining leaves, flooding them with light. I watch the sine-wave flight of a far-off woodpecker.
Windy and overcast, with a few flakes of snow in the air. Yellow leaves peel off the aspens as I watch. Two ravens croak back and forth.
Through thinning treetops, I spot a red-tailed hawk flapping to gain altitude. Two red oak leaves spiral high over the yard.
Just inside the woods, a white spear-tip where a maple’s top snapped off last June, sad as the spikes on the buck standing in the driveway.
The woods and fields are brown now, but the large lilac is still a wall of yellowed green, like faded posters for a long-gone fair.