voles

Against dark clouds, the white blossoms of shadbush massed at the woods’ edge. A vole breaks cover in the yard: a gray streak.

‪Weak sunlight. Dead leaves are all a-rustle, rummaged through by squirrels, voles, chipmunks, juncos. The distant cry of a maybe killdeer.‬

Overcast and cool. Below the porch, a single orange jewelweed flower and a traveling shiver in the grass where a vole is foraging.

Warm, with a clearing sky. The aging snowpack is a map of dark, branching lines: not varicose veins but the tunnels of meadow voles.

Another cold and overcast morning. A meadow vole zips into its burrow beside the stream and a song sparrow flies up with an indignant chirp.

At the base of the stone wall, a raised figure eight where a vole has ventured out, tunneling just under the surface of the new-fallen snow.

New snow on every twig: a strange fur, this fine, dry stuff that forms so far below freezing. A vole rustles in the leaves beside the porch.