All up the hillside, the glossy leaves of mountain laurel shimmer in the sun and wind. Minute snowflakes from who knows where pelt my cheek.
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.
The first bright sun since the leaves came down. I’m dazzled by the hillside of gleaming laurel interspersed with white flashes—junco wings.
Another dark, humid morning. A deer comes crashing through the laurel, turns and doubles back, as if trying to shake her entourage of flies.
Cloudless and cool. The only cricket sound is a low murmur. From up in the woods, the distant crashing of deer running through the laurel.
At first light, the sound of deer running through the woods: the crash of hooves, the swish of blossom-heavy branches of mountain laurel.
I can’t stop looking at the vivid green lilac, translucent in the mid-morning sun. In the woods beyond, the laurel is a blaze of gloss.
Rain. Two deer in a high-speed chase crash through the laurel, the one in pursuit grunting like a buck gone into rut eight months early.
The white flame of a deer’s tail bobs among the laurel. Another doe shakes her head, flinging rain water in all directions.
I think it’s partly because the hillside is covered with evergreen laurel that this phenomenon of a white ground still seems so surreal.
Sticky and warm. A clink of ice in my coffee startles up a deer, her tan coat passing in front of a cloud of blossoming mountain laurel.
Backlit by the sun, the weathered mountain laurel bushes turn to green fire under the trees, with pale shadows that must be patches of snow.
A juvenile buck chases a much larger doe through the laurel, knobs for antlers and his grunts still half-bleat. The damp woods glistening.
A woodchuck waddles down the road, pausing every few feet to poke its head into the weeds. A fawn bleats up in the laurel. The sun goes in.
A couple degrees above freezing. The snowpack has softened, and the squirrels chasing back and forth through the laurel hardly make a sound.
Cold, gray morning. I inventory the remaining spots of green: moss, grass, mountain laurel, pine, a rosette of thistle outlined in frost.