White clouds of shadbush blossoms off in the woods. A tiger swallowtail circles the yard—the silent applause of its great yellow wings.

A few patches of snow linger in the woods, incongruous as the first flowering shadbush trees will seem. A scatter of raindrops on the roof.

A masked bird skulks through the lilac: the first common yellowthroat. Clouds gather, and the shadbush blossoms disappear into the sky.

Clear—but how clear? I notice a faint haze in the sky near the sun. Off in the woods, the white cloud of another shadbush coming into bloom.

The soft colors of trees just coming into blossom: birch, elm, shadbush. The bright yellow on yellow of a bumblebee visiting the daffodils.

A small cloud has lodged among the trees at the woods’ edge: shadbush in bloom. Dawn leaks through a dozen rifts in the overcast sky.

A white haze on the bank above the road: the shadbush is finally beginning to blossom. A brown thrasher in the yard says everything twice.