White sky. The sun is a bright spot like the eye of a blind cave salamander. Doves flutter up from the cattails on piccolo wings.

A few snowflakes scud past. The dried blades of cattail next to the springhouse rattle and hiss. A dead leaf on the road flips over.

Cool and extraordinarily clear. With the sun on its gable end, the old springhouse glows like a lost tooth among the dark, swaying cattails.

Catbird caterwauling by the cattails. Bumblebee buzzing in the bergamot. A gray fly walks the gray band of my sandal. The sun comes out.

To the east, an agitated crow. Over by the cattails, an anxious wren. And behind me under the house, a groundhog bumps and scrapes.

When the wind stops, the big locust tree that’s been creaking ominously falls silent, and the long cattail leaves all hold their poses.

It’s wild mustard season, the yard dotted with purple dame’s-rocket, white garlic mustard, and among the cattails a riot of yellow rocket.