After rain and cold, the snow is reduced to a thin crust on top of the leaf litter. It shatters with every waking footstep of the deer.
Wind like a dozen freight trains thundering in the ridgetop trees. I remember as a kid I would curl up under windy pines and dream of sleep.
Like a familiar word in the middle of a speech in some other language: through the roar of traffic from over the ridge, a screech owl calls.
White ground, gray sky, and the temperature just below freezing. The wind curls around the house like a dog’s tail. A flock of goldfinches.
Commotion among the pileated woodpeckers: cackling, drumming. One swoops past and lands on the side of a tree with a magician’s flourish.
It’s snowing: single flakes at first, then more and more clumps, some asymmetric enough to spin or spiral—tiny leaves from a vast tree.
Two pairs of doves fly into the top of a tall locust and sit still as stones in the frigid wind, facing the pale moon, the crimson ridge.
A crow caws, and I’m struck by how much it resembles a barking dog. More crows, and the impression persists: Arf arf arf! A murder of dogs.
At first light, few other sounds than the fluting of doves’ wings. I hold my head perfectly still to watch Venus moving through the trees.
Sun thinned by a fleet of clouds the color of dirty dishwater. The wind in the pines is virtually indistinguishable from distant traffic.
Very cold, clear and still. My last dream before waking was of hummingbirds, and the trees at sunset shimmering with caterpillar tents.
Very cold. The woods seem unusually lifeless, and there’s a new creaking sound with every breeze. After a while, I realize: no squirrels.
Snow-covered hillside in the half-dark: every tree, bush and log adrift in blankness. The dog statue in the lawn still wears a white stripe.
Branches plastered with white still provoke that old schoolboy excitement: a snow day! The wet tips of the icicles tremble in the dawn wind.