Through driving snow, our neighbor is out plowing the road. The plow’s hydraulics whine like a sled dog. Tire chains scrabble at the ice.
A series of high-pitched howls from down in the hollow: coyotes or children? It’s hard to tell. I watch a silent, nearly motionless crow.
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.
Cloudy and cold. From over at the neighbors’, the low rumbling of a large machine and the excited shrieks of children eddy on the wind.
A squirrel tunnels into the icy snow. I hear my neighbor walking to his truck a quarter mile away. Inside, all the clocks are blinking.
All along the ridgetop now the sky is visible, cathedral-sized windows between the trees. The throaty roar of the neighbor’s pickup truck.
Dull, overcast morning redeemed by the croak of a raven. Our neighbor picks her way along the icy road, immersed in the music from her iPod.
The precipitation changes minute by minute: snow, sleet, drizzle. From the neighbor’s house, the peremptory snarls of a reciprocating saw.
A dozen doves take flight all at once—a confusion of flutes. From the almost-finished house a quarter mile away, the scream of a power saw.
Up in the field, five black cattle—some valley neighbor’s escaped stock—emerge from the mist and pause at the sight of their shadows.