A squirrel enters the cavity in the dead elm and rests its chin on the lip of the hole, watching silently as juncos swirl through the yard.

A light smear of sun in the Monday gray. Birds stir in the tall cedar beside the house: the chip chip of a junco; a tree sparrow’s tseet.

Open water in the ditch. Juncos fly down to drink then up to perch in the snow-laden branches of a dogwood, shaking themselves like dogs.

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.