High winds. The chairs huddle together at the end of the porch. Oak trees rattle; the pines roar. A sparrow flies into the wind, chittering.

A whitelash of snow against my cheek. I peer at the asterisks melting into my coat, continuing below my chair as a thin footnote.

A bright blue morning. The wail of sirens somewhere to the east—until the wind shifts and I hear nothing but the whispering of oaks.

Warm eddies mingle with the cold. A flock of sparrows moves through the meadow, singing, twittering, setting the goldenrod heads asway.

In the big oaks tossing in the wind, finally some splotches of color. A freight train’s out-of-tune horn blows a chord unknown to music.

The wind persists, and now that the walnut trees are bare I can see the aspens by the marsh, their perpetually agitated crowds yellowing up.