January 2008

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.

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.

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.