The Morning Porch is on hiatus until March 6. Feel free to leave your own front-porch observations in the comments.
A downy woodpecker gleans breakfast from the dead cherry, chirping between taps. A mackerel sky. The smell of thawed earth.
Pileated woodpeckers forage on all sides, hammering, drumming, cackling, whooping. I feel as if I’m surrounded by a troupe of insane clowns.
Snow blows sideways and rises from the ground in snaky spirals. A Carolina wren dances on top of the stone wall like a wind-up toy.
Rain has erased the last patches of snow. The lilac bush gives birth to a cardinal, a wren, four white-crowned sparrows and a chipmunk.
A killdeer’s song drifts down from high overhead, and to the south, the piping of a ragged flock of geese struggling against the high winds.
Dawn. Three deer become two, become three again. The sound of squirrel teeth on black walnut shell—that harsh madman’s whisper.
Sunrise. The bluebird warbles once, as if unsure whether it really will be that kind of day. The cardinal keeps singing his one good note.
Querulous cries of a raccoon, like lost notes from a soprano clarinet. Two pileateds hammer for their breakfast—an arrhythmic percussion.
First light. The silence is broken by a rustle in the leaves, followed a little later by the hollow sound of a creek stone being flipped.
The sun glints off periwinkle leaves in the yard where snow has just melted. All sounds come from a great distance: crow, woodpecker, train.
Blue sky. The snow has retreated to the northwest-facing hillside under the shelter of the trees. A train’s whistle made wavery by the wind.
Sleet rattles on the roof like a fast typist. Two deer in the springhouse meadow: when they stop moving, they vanish into the brown weeds.
Out before dawn, I hear nothing but the drip of melting snow, gaze at a photographic-negative version of the woods: light ground, black sky.