The catbird is already in full throat at sunrise. Six deer graze in the meadow below the blossoming pear tree, muzzles dripping.
The finest of snowflakes—little more than sparkles in the sun—drift down from an almost blue sky. The yard is a maze of deer hoof-prints.
Brown patches in the yard where deer have pawed the snow aside to eat myrtle. An oak leaf curled like a stillborn spirals down from the sky.
A new half-inch of snow returns the yard to blankness and hides the driveway ice. Neat hoof prints stretch and skew wildly into a slide.
New snow—already despoiled by deer digging for grass. I watch a red-bellied woodpecker inch down one side of a tree and inch up the other.
Rain and fog. Two bucks stand among the trees, antlers dripping as they lower their heads for a better look at the doe lying in the weeds.
In the dim light, the sound of eight bone knives being whetted against a sapling. The buck straightens up and gives me a baleful look.
At the base of the hill, the meadow is white with frost. A small deer carries the white torch of its tail up into the sunlit woods.
White shapes appear and disappear in the pre-dawn darkness: nervous deer raising and lowering their tails.
Loud wingbeats as the shadow of a raven crosses the yard. A buck gingerly lowers his antlered head to the stream.
Two bucks wander past in patchy, shedding coats, spike antlers curved like the horns of anorexic bulls. One pauses to snack on lilac leaves.
A pair of cardinals chirp back and forth in the lilac. A small buck with antlers in velvet crashes out of the woods, chased by a larger doe.
A deer at the edge of the rain-drenched meadow seems rooted to the spot. At last I glimpse beneath her belly the ears of a very small fawn.
Three deer graze in the meadow, ears and tails flapping to keep off the flies. From the valley, a steam locomotive’s lonesome wail.
During a lull in the snow, our neighbor drives past on the tractor. A deer leaps up from a patch of laurel, runs a few steps and stops.
After weeks of near-absence, crows call and quarrel in all directions. It must be the gut piles, venison viscera festering among the leaves.