A slate-gray sky. From the birdfeeder up at my parents’ house, the sound of squabbling crowds, pushy as bargain shoppers ahead of the sleet.
The snow gives them away—a crunch of footsteps, the unambiguous shapes: five turkeys 150 feet away, going single-file through the laurel.
An hour before dawn, a deer-shaped shadow drifts out of the woods, apparitional against the snow, like the photographic negative of a ghost.
That drum so low it sounds as if it’s in your head? A ruffed grouse, beating the air with its wings like one hand clapping. Or so they say.
Enough snow now to make the ground a blank page for the calligraphy of weeds and the meandering tracks of birds, the prints of their wings.
Two inches of fresh snow, and already the black cat is taking a shit in the middle of the driveway. Small pink clouds clutter up the sky.
Mid-morning, and many of the feeder birds are sitting quietly in the treetops, silhouetted against the whitening sky. Bright smudge of sun.