Overcast and cold with snow in the air and scattered notes from a traveling ensemble of flautists: a large V of tundra swans arrowing south.
The thermometer’s big arrow points straight at 0°C. It was too windy for frost, but fallen red maple leaves cradle white grains of ice.
Three degrees above freezing. The dead vireo in my garden is perfectly preserved except for its missing eyes—red prizes for ants.
Sunny and cold. The snow lingers like a guilty conscience. A squirrel climbs the dead elm, enters the old nest hole and sits peering out.
-21C. With the inner door open, frost forms on the storm door in minutes. The sun through the trees is spiky as a Medieval implement of war.
Bright and cold. Gusts of wind sweep the snow off branches—ghosts among the trees. A jet’s vestigial contrail briefly underlines the sun.
After the coldest night of the year so far, I’m basking in the bright sunlight, listening to the quiet hops of a junco approaching my chair.
Very cold (-20C). A locust tree with ice in its joints creaks and bangs in the wind. Through a hat and two hoods I hear a cardinal singing.
Cold again after yesterday’s thaw. A mourning dove flutters down into the lilac, gets settled on a branch and closes its eyes.
Clear and very cold. The wind has erased all tracks but its own, and the trees’ etiolated shadows rock back and forth like trauma survivors.
Shrunk in the cold, the porch floorboards pop loudly when I come out. In my snowshoe tracks below the porch, a scattering of rabbit pellets.
Another zero-degree morning. The wind hisses in the tops of the pines. A blue jay squeaks like a rusty hinge. The sun comes up.
The thermometer hovers just above zero F. Drifted snow covers the porch. A lone squirrel leaps through the shadows of the trees.
Wind and sun and bitter cold. A faint trace of white on the ground, as if left over from last night’s full moon.
The rasping cries of male squirrels trailing a female in estrus through the treetops. I can feel my breath freezing to my beard.
Bitter cold; even the sun looks brittle. I savor the silence, broken only by goldfinch warble and the scattered calls of robins.