With the snowpack in retreat, those seedheads I’d gotten so used to seeing have disappeared back into the underlying chaos of dead weeds.
After a warm night, the bare spots are bigger than the patches of white, except in the woods and in the sky. The creek sings higher notes.
Thick fog and a slow dripping of meltwater onto the porch roof. Some of the animal tracks in the yard have melted through—dark portholes.
The mutter and whine of a distant two-stroke engine. Though the sun’s a dim smear, I can’t stop sneezing. A Carolina wren trills in alarm.
Squirrels on the ground: one makes a detour to run along a fallen tree, another digs a walnut out of the dirt and buries it in the snow.
January thaw. A nuthatch finds a dead branch so resonant, its probing taps sound as loud as a woodpecker’s, and it flees to a quieter tree.
Traffic noise from over the hill is deafening—the icy snowpack has become a sounding board. In the tulip tree, four slow, amorous squirrels.
I hold out my glasses and peer at a drop of water left over from the shower: fisheye lens in which the sun falls from bent, inverted trees.
Overcast, with a smell of burning plastic in the air. Half-way up the ridge, two crows move about in the treetops without making a sound.
The sky is mangy, with blue patches showing through, and the yard is leprose with tracks. A rabbit twitches under the deer-ravaged rosebush.
Cold and overcast. A grooming cardinal reaches under his wings, dining on lice. Juncos peck grit from the road to replenish their gizzards.
Sleek silhouette of a sharp-shinned hawk. In the rosebush’s densely scribbled heart, the faint throbbing of something with very small bones.
Sparkles on the snow seem to float on another plane. Tree branches closest to the sun shine like knights in armor from the rime.
A titmouse inspects the undersides of several limb-stumps on the dead cherry snag, its cap wobbling. Shadows fade in and out. It’s cold.
Snowflakes wander to and fro like alien spacecraft on reconnaissance missions: “All strangely quiet. Dominant species an arboreal rodent.”
Juncos in the stream, juncos in the barberry bushes, juncos on the driveway, juncos in the lilac. Junco tracks in the snow beside my chair.