The small hole in the yard that leads to the underground stream has melted open, dark as a blowhole in the skin of a white whale.
Birds flutter back and forth across the yard to drink the dark water of the spring. The frigid air glitters with scattered snowflakes.
Well after sunrise, a screech owl trilling like the god of tree crickets. I notice that the barberry above the creek is livid with fruit.
The barberry bush above the stream is in bloom, demure rows of yellow bells that smell like sperm. A grackle flies up—his raspy call.
Two catbirds tangle in the air above the stream. A hummingbird dive-bombs a gnatcatcher. The first great-crested flycatcher holds forth.
Sunny and warm. A goldfinch drops down among the black currant bushes with their half-open leaves to dip her bill into the sky-blue stream.
After a night below freezing, the daffodils sag on their stalks like half-deflated balloons in the bright sun. The stream’s quiet gurgle.
After all-night rain, the sound of rushing water in all directions. I can barely hear the birds. A distant, dull clanking from the quarry.
Up early, I can’t set my hat-brim low enough to block the sun, so settle for bedazzlement. Two squirrels by the stream walking in circles.
After a cold night, the damp soil beside the stream has frozen into ranks of turrets. Sparrows forage among them for newly exposed seeds.
Four squirrels descend a tree in single file and disperse into the brush. The stream still runs high. A nuthatch rattles his anxiety cup.
Fresh from drinking out of the cold stream, a chickadee swipes its bill rapidly against a twig, then goes to join the others in the birches.
The creek has shrunk to a black ribbon between white canyon walls. A cardinal fluttering up from a quick bath shakes loose a shower of snow.
Two degrees below freezing. Juncos bathe in the creek, darting into the currant bushes to groom. A house finch’s labyrinthine cadenza.
A faint dust of frost on the old goldenrod stalks along the creek. A crow chases a crow, yells breaking in the middle like a boy at puberty.
The ongoing warmth and rain have reduced the snow to scattered patches. Above the roar of the creek, a flock of goldfinches whistling.