Wind shuffles the suddenly yellow leaves of elm and birch—their marked decks. A fly wanders the inside of a window pane on sticky feet.
Leaves blow backward, signalling storms to come. Fallen crabapple petals litter the ground between the cattails like bloody thumbprints.
In a gust of wind, one dead leaf dances too crazily: a question mark butterfly. It rests with its orange wings open to the sun.
Cold winds stir the leaves on the forest floor in lieu of anything better. A towhee seeks the shelter of the lilac for her own rummaging.
Trees sway and gyrate under a blue-gray sky. In a lull between gusts, a lost leaf flutters down out of the clouds. The phoebe calls.
A bitter wind scours the hillside, stirring the quarter-inch of new snow into fast-moving phantoms, back-lit by the sun.
Tundra swans are still migrating despite the bitter cold and wind; I hear them off to the north. A jet without a contrail gleams in the sun.
Most of the mountain is still sealed under five inches of icy snowpack, but the wind goes down the plowed road, turning over all the leaves.
Buffeted by wind, I close my eyes and focus on the sun’s warmth as the archipelago of drifted snow rearranges itself around my chair.
Cold and bright. The trees stand in their melted pits, legacy of the recent thaw. I watch the wind shred a fast-moving cloud.
The wind has allowed only the biggest limbs to hold onto their snow. I can see them far off through the woods—white bridges to nowhere.
The wind has been busy, sweeping the new snow to the corners of the porch and half-burying the few tracks in the yard, which include my own.
Wind-blown snow. I sit with my feet propped on the railing until my jeans turn white. A junco flies under them as if I weren’t there.
Another bright, frigid morning. I could get used to this light without heat, snow like a white beach, a hissing of surf from the tall pines.
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.
The temperature is back below freezing, and the road is a ribbon of ice. I watch the treetops rocking in the wind and think of sea anemones.