The alarm call of a Carolina wren spreads to other wrens, other birds, a growing agitation that for a second flutters even in my chest.
Rain and fog. Gray-green lichen glows on tree trunks in the woods and on every twisted branch of the old crabapple beside the springhouse.
Two degrees below freezing, but the rain remains rain. Somewhere above the fog, an airplane’s single propeller.
Last night’s dusting of snow has managed to persist all morning under the trees. The silence seems impervious to the woodpecker’s taps.
Fast-moving clouds make the illumination of the hillside as sudden and surprising as a magician’s trick. Fallen leaves turn over one by one.
A break in the rain. In the barberry bush, a titmouse shakes himself all over. A squirrel pauses on a tulip tree limb to scratch his belly.
Steady rain. The cardinal makes two sorties against his reflection in the window and retreats to the shelter of the cedar tree.
Soft light on the hard frost: more glimmer than glitter. A pileated woodpecker’s kak kak kak like a high-pitched engine trying to start.
Distant fire sirens break the silence. A deer hunter drives past in a bright red pickup. I convince myself I’m warm, sitting in the sun.
The snow has retreated to the tops of logs. A squirrel’s scold-calls blend with the whine of traffic from over the ridge. A patter of rain.