A maze of squirrel and sparrow tracks between ice-covered tufts of grass glittering in the sun. Down in the valley, a siren starts up.
The silence of steadily falling snow, punctuated by the tapping of a downy woodpecker and the distant scolding of a squirrel.
Parallel lines of arrows where a sparrow hopped through the new snow. The sharp-edged shadows of the trees are a blacker blue than the sky.
The last patch of snow in the yard has shrunk to half the size of a handkerchief. Three chickadees explore the woods’ edge, comparing notes.
Cold, with a bitter wind. The juncos sound twice as cheerful as they did before the snow, twittering as they chase through the lilac.
The first half-inch of snow. A mink appears along the creek, looping over and under the snow-laden grass like a dark needle and thread.
Snowflakes swirl past and vanish into the weeds. Only the springhouse roof is cold enough for them, but soon it too turns back to gray.
First snow of the year: a squall of small flakes. The flamingo in the garden rapidly acquires a white shawl.
A few degrees above freezing. The sun’s still shining when the snow begins to fall, small flakes sifting down through the flowering trees.
All up the hillside, the glossy leaves of mountain laurel shimmer in the sun and wind. Minute snowflakes from who knows where pelt my cheek.
In contrast to the clouds, the snowbank beside the driveway is shrunken and gray, like something left too long at the back of the fridge.
Where yesterday the hillside was mostly white, now it’s mostly brown, and the dawn chorus is twice as loud with the addition of one robin.
In the mud bowl of the old robin’s nest that the wind blew out of the cedar tree, a fresh dusting of snow. The cardinal’s monotonous chant.
Blue sky, warm sun. Through a curtain of meltwater I watch small birds fly back and forth, silhouetted against the blazing white yard.
Yet again, the world is transformed by new snow clinging to every twig. The Carolina wren pokes his bill out from under the eaves to sing.
A sound I haven’t heard since last fall: a chipmunk’s territorial ticking. I see it zip across the rock-hard snow, tail pointing at 12 noon.