Two squirrels circle warily beside the road. A third crosses the stream with a walnut between its teeth and seeing them, takes to the trees.
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.
Mist thickens into drizzle; the phoebe falls silent. Under the deer-ravaged black currant bushes, slick black rocks where the stream begins.
Loud wingbeats as the shadow of a raven crosses the yard. A buck gingerly lowers his antlered head to the stream.
A bluejay imitates a titmouse, blaring the first note of its call, and drops down to drink from the sky-blue trickle in the ditch.
Sunny but still cold at 9:00. A fly walks slowly up a porch column. Water gurgles in the ditch. Three kinds of sparrows trade songs.
Back from migration, a Louisiana waterthrush sings above the trickle of a stream. Chickadees excavate a den hole in the dead cherry stump.
With less water, the stream is louder than it was yesterday. Three-inch cataracts splash into teacup-sized plunge pools.
Blowing snow plasters my boots, propped up on the railing. The creek is living in the past as usual, roaring with last night’s heavy rains.
Where a crevasse leads to an underground stream, a small hole has opened in the snowy yard, a dark ear throbbing with its own pulse.
After a warm night, the bare spots are bigger than the patches of white, except in the woods and in the sky. The creek sings higher notes.
Juncos in the stream, juncos in the barberry bushes, juncos on the driveway, juncos in the lilac. Junco tracks in the snow beside my chair.
Snow-ghosts arise and sail a couple dozen yards before the wind rips them apart. Juncos flock to dip their beaks in the stream’s dark water.
It keeps raining and stopping, as if on a movie set. Eight rapid pops: someone firing a semi-automatic. The stream gurgles under the yard.
A chickadee in the walnut tree flits from twig to twig, swiping its bill twice against each, then drops into the creek for a quick drink.
The snow is reduced to patches now, and the stream runs loud. The book I’m reading says there’s no such thing as a pure white horse.