Bitter cold with a wind. I sit with feet propped up as usual while snowflakes needle my cheek and pile up behind the ridges in my jeans.

Cold weather has finally returned. Small birds are bathing in the stream despite the iron wind, shaking themselves dry in a dogwood bush.

Deep cold. Two chickadees invade the porch, fluttering noisily above my head. A downy woodpecker excavates breakfast from a resonant tree.

January has come early: the icy snowpack hard as a brick, a squirrel already in heat. A pursuing male pauses to groom his face and genitals.

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.