snow

A dusting of snow. Three song sparrows are trying to out-sing each other, and the tall black locust at the woods’ edge creaks with ice.

In an interval between cold rain showers, the sky brightens, until the remnant snowbanks begin to glow. A chickadee pivots atop a stump.

A fresh dusting of snow. I close my eyes to listen the birds: song sparrow, bluebird, chickadee, a white-throated sparrow’s wavering song.

Sunny and cold. The snow lingers like a guilty conscience. A squirrel climbs the dead elm, enters the old nest hole and sits peering out.

Yesterday’s snow clings to the trees in tatters, long ribbons of it drooping from branches like torn sleeves before crumbling to dust.

Snowstorm. Two male cardinals meet on a white branch and stare at each other. A third red crest flashes in the woods: pileated woodpecker.

The shrunken mound of plowed snow in my yard glistens dully, streaked with dead grass. The whinnying call of a red-bellied woodpecker.

The northwest-facing hillside is finally more brown than white. In the yard, spear-tips of daffodils perforate a patch of rotting snow.

Rainy and cold. I am fascinated by the fog rising off the snow: how quickly it appears and disappears while barely seeming to move at all.

A cloudless sky. Chipmunks and squirrels run back and forth across the melting snow. A gurgling chorus from all the springs and ditches.

Warm, with a clearing sky. The aging snowpack is a map of dark, branching lines: not varicose veins but the tunnels of meadow voles.

The slow melting continues. The sun is dim as a car’s headlight through the clouds. Scattered honks as a flock of Canada geese passes over.

Yesterday’s melting has turned old footprints from pits into little hills. New tracks are muddy brown, fading out by the middle of the yard.

A few degrees above freezing. Just inside the woods’ edge, three chipmunks in full mating frenzy race back and forth across the snow.

Very clear and quiet. The ground is a blaze of white, like a second sky in which the trees float, anchored only by their shadows.