The local geese seem restless, flying from valley to valley as if trying to remember how to migrate. Four juncos in the road gathering grit.
A downpour. Just above the ridge, a sudden flash followed by a teeth-rattling rumble, the outline of an inverted tree fading on my retina.
I keep hearing fragments of song—winter wren, bluebird, song sparrow—and the usual tight flock of siskins in a walnut tree going zzzzzzip.
With the sun on my face I turn my eyes into camera lenses, open, shut: half-second negatives of trees, bushes, railing. Remember this.
Cloudless and cold at sunrise. Two titmice drone back and forth, like a pair of insurance agents at a party trying to out-bore each other.
Sun shining through thin clouds and wind-blown snow. A great wave of happiness sweeps past. In the barberry bush, a cardinal begins to sing.
White sky. The soft calls of a pair of downy woodpeckers on adjacent trees. Four chickadees on a high-speed chase tear through the lilac.
A section of latticework below the porch floor has fallen off, and though it kept nothing out, I feel strangely vulnerable. A red sunrise.
Bitter cold. A loud creaking from the edge of the woods, as if from an unlatched door swinging in the wind. Snow cover thin as a ghost.
Snowflakes make the wind visible. Who knew the yard was home to such complex currents? The anxious calls of a nuthatch on the far shore.
The precipitation changes minute by minute: snow, sleet, drizzle. From the neighbor’s house, the peremptory snarls of a reciprocating saw.
Just past sunrise, the powerline is a tongue of light off through the woods. A heavy contrail drifts toward the sun like a deepening frown.
The trees beyond the feeder are dotted with small birds watching every movement of the sharp-shinned hawk as it picks lice from its wings.
A quarter-inch of snow makes the woods much whiter than it would’ve in December, before the leaf duff had been flattened by an icy iron.