Another zero-degree morning. The wind hisses in the tops of the pines. A blue jay squeaks like a rusty hinge. The sun comes up.
A katydid clings to the side of the house at sunrise, its veined leaf of a body immobile in the cold but still as green as July.
Light from the rising sun diffracts off a spider web in the eaves, turning it all the colors of the rainbow as it trembles in the wind.
The catbird is already in full throat at sunrise. Six deer graze in the meadow below the blossoming pear tree, muzzles dripping.
Just after sunrise, a wood thrush lands in the trees across from the porch and looks quietly all around. Two hours later, he’s singing.
Clear sky at sunrise, but the woods are still dripping. The sun sets the mist aglow. Trembling drops shift from color to color, prismatic.
Half an hour till sunrise. Over the brassy din of the dooryard birds, from off in the fog, the soft, wandering warble of a winter wren.
A second male phoebe has returned. Their warring warbles echo off the hillside at sunrise, interspersed with a cowbird’s liquid notes.
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.
Deep cold; nothing stirring but the wind. Clouds of snow blown off the trees are back-lit by the rising sun.
It’s cold—I can hear it in the way the wind hisses in the dead grass. As the sun climbs through the trees, I close one eye then the other.
Sunrise turns the western ridge crimson. Chickadees and titmice flit through the branches, calling, while we stand snapping pictures.
Trees pop in the cold. I close my eyes against the sun and watch its track fade on my retina: a connect-the-dots drawing gone wrong.
Hollow thumps where a rabbit dashes across the slick snow-crust, alarmed, perhaps, by the sun’s blinding path through the trees.
Small birds appear as they fly past, and the sun, too, emerges only to vanish a second later, the fog turning from yellow back to white.
The sun! Rising through treetops turned to blazing crystal. The red-bellied woodpecker foraging for breakfast sounds distinctly unimpressed.