A cold, wet morning that must test the hunters’ mettle. Over the rain, the rattle of the window-tapping cardinal clashing with her nemesis.
Blue overhead, and the frost so heavy, it looks like a light snow. From the barnyard, the voices of hunters returning with their first kill.
I arrive on the porch at the same time as the sun: the first blazing quills top the ridge and a sneeze begins to prickle behind my nose.
A scurf of snow in the north corner of the porch, and more flakes in the wind. A chickadee puffs out its feathers, fat as a baseball.
Windy, with mottled gray and white clouds and a muddy yellow smudge for the sun, as in a fingerpainting. A siskin’s sharp-edged note.
Steady rain, and the temperature just two degrees above freezing. In the herb bed, the pale blue wheel of a blossom on the invasive myrtle.
The sun peeks through windows of deep blue. I watch a crow flying silently from tree to tree as another crow follows, pecking and jeering.
An inversion layer at daybreak: the high whine of tires on asphalt rings in my ear. The sky grows dark again, but it’s only a mizzle.
The house finch tries to fit everything into a five-second burst of song, purple among the purple twigs of silky dogwood.
A quiet Sunday morning, frost like a pall, and a pair of nuthatches in querulous dialogue about—who knows?—the taste of frozen bugs.
Dawn. In absolute silence, a pileated woodpecker hitches its way up a locust trunk, silhouette pivoting like a pawl on an invisible ratchet.
An incessant scolding from the springhouse: a Carolina wren perches in the tiny, prison-like window, crossed by a single bar of sunlight.
Somewhere above the clouds, a military jet heads north: a gray sound on a gray day. In the newly bare lilac, yellow wires of bindweed.
High winds stir the trees like surf, a dead branch crashes every few minutes, but the small birds still forage, twittering in the birches.