After hard rain in the early hours, the sky is a patchwork of light and dark. The wail of a freight train is faintly audible above the wind.

A wet snow has turned the trees Victorian, every last twig edged with filigree. The only sound from the valley is the rumbling of trains.

The low throb of a freight train laboring up the valley. A mossy log at the woods’ edge is lit up by the sun’s reflection in a window.

An inversion layer brings freight train and traffic noise to mix with rustling leaves, crow scold-calls, a chipmunk’s metronome. My music.

On a cold, clear morning, the calls of birds seem almost crystalline. To say nothing of the whistle of a westbound freight…