Sunrise, and seven species of birds are calling—but not the phoebe, who flies in and out of the old nest under the springhouse eaves.
The old crabapple next to the springhouse is in full bloom, a mass of shocking pink abuzz with insects. The sharp snap of a phoebe’s beak.
Red-winged blackbirds calling in the fog. The springhouse phoebe appears to have found a mate. They take turns fluttering under the eaves.
At sunrise, one shaft of sun reaches all the way through the woods to illuminate the end of the springhouse. The western ridge glows orange.
The woods are filled with fog and a roar of traffic from over the ridge. The north roof of the springhouse still wears a scruff of ice.
Juncos rustle quietly in the leaves beside the old springhouse. The sun spreads out behind thin clouds like a yolk broken in a pan.
A skim of snow on the springhouse roof glows faintly blue under the blue sky. The sun turns the old, limp lilac leaves into stained glass.
A faint smell of sewage on the wind. A wren singing from atop the springhouse in the absence of a female supplies his own call-and-response.
The old crabapple tree next to the springhouse has pulled it off again, blossoming wildly. The catbird scat-sings from its purple depths.
A pair of phoebes fly in and out of the old nest under the springhouse eaves. Done foraging, a groundhog barrels full-tilt toward its den.
Parallel relics of the plow, the only snow yet to go glows in the dim light. A song sparrow by the spring house sings his spring song.
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.
A hen turkey bursts from the cattails beside the springhouse and does a dorky fast walk past the yellow daffodils and into the woods.
Gray sky. A gray squirrel emerges from the tiny attic opening in the springhouse roof and falls head-first into the cattails.
From behind the springhouse, the opening notes of a song sparrow’s song, and a moment later, the closing notes of a white-throated sparrow.
My mother emerges from the weeds beside the springhouse with a handful of mint. Behind her at the woods’ edge, a red-tailed hawk takes wing.