snow

Sun and wind conspire against the fresh, wet snow clinging to every twig. A towhee calls in the midst of his labors to uncover the ground.

A half-inch of snow on the ground at sunrise. I look away, at the blue-gray sky. The bare trees shake and chafe, rattle and groan.

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.

An inch of new snow and a bitter wind. Daffodils droop like old balloons. A white-throated sparrow’s song pauses and resumes one octave up.

A half inch of snow—just enough to make the ground mirror the flat-white sky. A chickadee sings his two-note, minor-key song.

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.