A red-spotted purple butterfly emerges into the glare like an emissary from the shadows. In the front garden, a burst of wren chatter.
The dark strips laid bare by the snow plow pullulate with juncos. One silhouette is different, bouncier, twitchier: the Carolina wren.
Despite the wind, yesterday’s snow still clings to the trees, like the sleep I keep trying to rub from my eyes. A wren’s ascending rattle.
The excited yelling of my young niece, out tracking animals in the snow with her grandmother. A Carolina wren scolds from the lilac bush.
A faint smell of sewage on the wind. A wren singing from atop the springhouse in the absence of a female supplies his own call-and-response.
The lilac trembles from without and within: rain hammers the leaves while birds jockey for shelter under them—towhee, cardinal, wren.
A green darner zips back and forth, reversing direction so abruptly it looks like a jump cut. From behind the house, the burbling of a wren.
Overcast and humid. A Carolina wren trills in short bursts, as if in imitation of the crickets creaking in the long grass.
A flat white sky; no wind. A pair of ravens fly low over the house, their croaks echoing off the ridge. The wrens chitter back and forth.
Freezing rain and sleet have turned the snow as rough as a lizard’s skin. A wren hops through the lilac, poking at the ground with his bill.
A Carolina wren lands on the dead cherry stump and pumps his round body up and down, as if priming the inexhaustible pump of his song.
In the poor light, the quick movements of birds: those that chatter, those that flutter, those that scuttle like beetles, those that tap.
Whatever the male wren says, his mate always gives the same reply. He sings into the chimney like a child dropping pennies into a dry well.
Goldfinch, nuthatch, catbird, wren. The herb-garden chipmunk, cheeks bulging, pauses on top of the wall to groom its paws.
The only singer is the wren in the lilac, cycling through his entire repertoire at breakneck speed. A gray caterpillar inches up my leg.
Two Carolina wren fledglings in the cedar—small balls of fluff. A cerulean warbler flies in to peer at me, the cause of so much scolding.