Blank white sky. The woods are quiet except for an occasional chickadee. From over at the neighbors’, the labored putting of an old engine.
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.