A chipmunk scurries through the garden with a wad of dried leaves between her teeth and disappears beneath a flowerless clump of peonies.

It’s snowing; the bergamot heads wear new, conical caps. A mourning dove flies past the porch on nearly silent wings, headed for the pines.

After two days of soaking up sun, the sage plant’s fat, gray-green leaves have melted the snow-pack around each protruding sprig.

The all-night rain has stripped the leaves off the witch hazel, revealing the flowers, some clutching raindrops in their pale skinny petals.

The hornets stream in and out of their hole in the garden, departing to the south, returning from the east. A towhee calling in the dogwood.

Thin clouds; the sun is a bright smear. A hummingbird hovers over the spent flowers in my garden, nudging a yellow leaf with her bill.

A hornet nuzzles my arm like a hoverfly but doesn’t sting. In the garden, the buzz of hummingbirds dueling over scraps of bloom.

Weeding the garden is never dull. Yesterday morning a milk snake writhed around my wrist; today, hornets boil up and sting my hand.

From the herb bed, I hear the squeaks of a hummingbird sipping from the columbine. Then he’s in my face, gorget like a small red torch.

The first purple irises are opening along the rock wall, their three petals descending like the landing gear on spaceships.

Where the fresh snow has just melted on the concrete walkway, a bright green blush of lichen. The nuthatch’s three nasal notes.

A crow flies off cawing and returns silently to the same tree. In the garden, comfrey leaves have begun turning face-down into the earth.