Thickening contrails stripe the sky. Two ravens fly side-by-side over the house, trading hoarse commentary. The blur of hoarfrost.
A titmouse lands in the dead cherry tree, reaches into the cracked bark, pulls out a sunflower seed and taps it open, pausing twice to sing.
It’s snowing again. A blue jay keeps returning to the same high limb to eat snow, as if it can’t find that exact flavor anywhere else.
The silence of falling snow. When my furnace kicks on, the three deer digging under the wild apple tree startle and run down the slope.
A large white bird—albino crow? Lost seagull?—glimpsed through the snow, agglomerated flakes as big as small leaves, rocking and spinning.
A distant quarry truck’s reverse beeper has gone bad, and trills just like a digital alarm clock. Dueling chickadees tumble through the air.
Low clouds, and the highway—almost inaudible for weeks—sounds close. The air shimmers. I stick an arm out, and white motes dot my sleeve.
The ugly squat burdock has a thin and graceful shadow. It inches over the snow without getting snagged by the sharp sparkles of sun.
In the bitter night, a white-footed mouse bounded unerringly from the corner of the wall to a hole 20 feet away. The snow is my newspaper.
Intense cold, and a stillness so deep the trains can barely be heard. A cardinal flickers like a pilot light under the bridal wreath bush.
Juncos fill the lilac, nearest cover to an unfrozen section of stream. Five or six at a time they flutter down to drink from the dark water.
Juncos hop on the icy snow between the cattails where a rabbit disappeared fifteen minutes earlier, taking the darkness with it.
After last night’s rain, the snow fits each dip and hummock more tightly, like a garment shrunk in the wash. The creaking of doves’ wings.
Fine snow blurs the edges of the porch. The feral cat has walked in her own footsteps through the garden, a clear print in each old crater.