Two A-10 aircraft roar over; I get a glimpse of the nearer one through the trees. A dove flees on whistling wings. A vulture keeps circling.
Cold with low rain clouds at dawn. Over the noise from I-99, the nasal mating calls of that shoreless shorebird, the American woodcock.
Clear and cold at dawn. Nothing but the sound of water gurgling in the spring until, at length, the first distant bird call: song sparrow.
A dusting of snow. Three song sparrows are trying to out-sing each other, and the tall black locust at the woods’ edge creaks with ice.
Could that be thunder? The sun struggles to shine. On the flattened grass where snow sat until yesterday, a scatter of black walnut husks.
In an interval between cold rain showers, the sky brightens, until the remnant snowbanks begin to glow. A chickadee pivots atop a stump.
A fresh dusting of snow. I close my eyes to listen the birds: song sparrow, bluebird, chickadee, a white-throated sparrow’s wavering song.
From high overhead, the faint cries of swans. I scan the clear sky in vain. A blue jay drinks from a seep in the yard beside the dogwoods.
Sunny and cold. The snow lingers like a guilty conscience. A squirrel climbs the dead elm, enters the old nest hole and sits peering out.
Yesterday’s snow clings to the trees in tatters, long ribbons of it drooping from branches like torn sleeves before crumbling to dust.
Snowstorm. Two male cardinals meet on a white branch and stare at each other. A third red crest flashes in the woods: pileated woodpecker.
The shrunken mound of plowed snow in my yard glistens dully, streaked with dead grass. The whinnying call of a red-bellied woodpecker.
Cold and bright. A phoebe lands on a branch overhanging the road and flicks his tail. I wait for his eponymous call, but he merely chirps.
The northwest-facing hillside is finally more brown than white. In the yard, spear-tips of daffodils perforate a patch of rotting snow.