Five golden-crowned kinglets forage in the crown of a birch. In a nearby barberry, a junco ticks sporadically like an uncommitted clock.
A breeze rustles through dry leaves as loudly as a squirrel, the squirrels as loudly as deer. A blue jay’s call sounds strangely inverted.
After yet another hard frost, the lilac is at its saddest, thinning leaves hanging limp and slightly curled in the weak morning sun.
A smudge of a sun sits in the crown of the tall tulip poplar like a grotesque fruit. Bluebird and Carolina wren song: a joyous soundtrack.
The first bright sun since the leaves came down. I’m dazzled by the hillside of gleaming laurel interspersed with white flashes—junco wings.
A thin spot in the clouds close enough to the sun to turn yellow like a bruise. A turkey vulture circles. The usual clamor of small birds.
A titmouse hops from one limb-stump to another on the newly truncated cherry snag. Five minutes later, a brown creeper scoots up the bole.
The sun glimmers through thin clouds, backlighting the green lilac and the sideways-blowing snow. The wail of a freight train on the wind.
With the leaves down, I can see deep into the woods: two pileateds work both sides of a birch. A redtail hawk flies just below the treetops.
A vulture rocks in the wind above the ridge. Juncos and white-throated sparrows flit into the lilac by twos and threes, chirp and fly out.