After another cold night, the lilac is carpeting its corner of the yard with the yellow-green curls of its suddenly devalued currency.
Windy and cold. A downy woodpecker works over the dead cherry, sounding like a fast hunt-and-peck typist. A towhee calls from the lilac.
The only singer is the wren in the lilac, cycling through his entire repertoire at breakneck speed. A gray caterpillar inches up my leg.
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.
Swarms of spinning maple keys fly this way and that. An indigo bunting bobs up and down in the lilac, swiping his bill against the branch.
Rain in the wee hours has left the lilac with leaves bent over, showing their pale backs. Above, the white missiles of black cherry blooms.
From the greening-up lilac and the blooming forsythia, a steady chatter of goldfinches, their own plumage now turned from green to yellow.
A towhee sits on a high branch at sunrise, his breast puffed out against the cold. His rufous feathers briefly match the color of the ridge.
Soft light filtered by a film of cloud. A squirrel carrying a freshly exhumed walnut bounds under the broken dog statue and into the lilac.
Where rabbits take shelter under the lilac, several limbs have been de-barked near the ground, bone-yellow against the crust of snow.
Early morning sounds like spring, with cardinals, titmice and song sparrows tuning up. A rabbit stands on its hind legs to reach lilac buds.
Chickadees are geniuses at staying busy. I watch the usual flock of five investigate the lilac as if they’d never seen it in their lives.
In the cold wind, a gray fish fights against the lilac twig that snagged it: the collapsed remains of a caterpillar tent fallen from a tree.
The Carolina wren doesn’t rise till 9:23. He hops out from under the house, flutters up to the porch and flies into the lilac to sing.
A squirrel leaps through the snow-laden lilac up by the other house, chasing the juncos. Their high, tinny alarm-calls sound like laughter.