Juncos in the stream, juncos in the barberry bushes, juncos on the driveway, juncos in the lilac. Junco tracks in the snow beside my chair.
Flakes in the wind—not from the clouds, but the ground. A large, dried oak leaf curled like a boat floats down and lands on the snow.
Snow piles up on branches, as if the white sky were descending on a chaos of ladders. Only a woodpecker’s soft tapping breaks the silence.
Fire sirens. A wren’s burble. In a tree at the woods’ edge, two crows jeering a raven fall silent when it flies right over their heads.
A fresh six inches of snow. Most tree branches have been swept clean by the wind, but the rose bush harbors a tangle of snowy canes.
Has the sky been this gray all month, looking white only because there was no snow for comparison? A pair of ravens fly low over the trees.
Melting snow drips onto the porch roof. A crow lands at the top of a locust, the tallest soapbox around for his predictable denunciations.
A gray squirrel explores a walnut tree, nose down, following each limb to its end. I decide it’s searching for seeds cached by the birds.
The no-longer-drifting snow records moonlit revels: where a vole broke cover, where white-footed mice foraged, where rabbits danced.
Snow-ghosts arise and sail a couple dozen yards before the wind rips them apart. Juncos flock to dip their beaks in the stream’s dark water.
A scant inch of snow turned scabrous by the rain and cold that followed it—but still the world glows, the woodpecker’s red head shines.
Frost has dusted just the two rosettes of mullein leaves beside the driveway: enormous white flowers. A cottontail rabbit bounds past.
A brown creeper ascends the trunk of a walnut tree, its jerky scuttling more insect-like than avian. Up on the ridge, a furious mob of crows.
Over the sound of the wind, the opening note of a fire siren. Thin, cold rain flies sideways, mixed with snowflakes. The sun struggles out.