gray squirrel

‪Weak sunlight. Dead leaves are all a-rustle, rummaged through by squirrels, voles, chipmunks, juncos. The distant cry of a maybe killdeer.‬

‪Ten degrees above freezing at sunrise. A squirrel leaps through the soft snow like a salmon swimming upstream. High overhead, a raven calls.‬

Snow remains on the thicker limbs, making a dramatic graffiti on the dark wall of trees—erased here and there by busybody squirrels.

Fog heightens the intrigue of January’s gray-squirrel soap opera: the slow-motion chases, the tree-top fights, the ruses to elude stalkers.

Cold and quiet but for the muffled cries of squirrels mating or fighting in the springhouse attic. A dozen snowflakes wander into the yard.

Once more the snow has retreated to the shadiest spots. Ignoring a squirrel’s hawk alarm, a Carolina wren burbles with what sounds like joy.