Trees pop in the cold, creak in the wind. Sunrise spreads across the sky like a grease stain. All the foxtail millet is bowed to the north.
Yesterday’s slush has grown hard as cartilage. I watch a small flock of snowbirds hopping around on it, unfazed by the bitter wind.
Five inches of fresh slush. Were the woods briefly beautiful at 3:00 am? The cedar tree by the side of the house bends low over the garden.
To the northeast, seven parallel contrails spread and merge. An eighth appears through the treetops across the yard, and I have to sneeze.
A broken-off locust limb held at a 45-degree angle by the black birches’ intricate crowns is thick enough to still wear a coat of snow.
With the temperature in the low 20s, the few clouds have that filmy, snow-filled look. Otherwise, a deep blue scribbled with white branches.
Steady sift of snow whitening every twig. But my eye is drawn to the one small patch of lawn grass left in the yard, those brave green tips.
A squirrel foraging in the leaves suddenly streaks for the nearest tree, barely escaping the sharp-shinned hawk hurtling through the forest.
Trees rock and sway. The dead elm has parted with its largest limb, and the oblong scar glows a creamy yellow, like a well-aged cheese.
Cold, gray morning. I inventory the remaining spots of green: moss, grass, mountain laurel, pine, a rosette of thistle outlined in frost.