As the clouds thin, the flat-white ground acquires a gloss. Trees grow tenuous shadows, improbably long and skinny on this shortest of days.
Thick hoarfrost gives the sun rising through the trees a soft, glittery nimbus, and the aging snowpack has regained the sparkle of youth.
January has come early: the icy snowpack hard as a brick, a squirrel already in heat. A pursuing male pauses to groom his face and genitals.
Steady rain; the frost in the windows has turned to fog. Juncos move through the weeds like a human crowd, a mix of the bold and the timid.
The whisper of sleet falling on sleet. A snowbird bursts from under my chair where it must’ve been foraging and joins the rest of the flock.
Low sun on the western ridge where new-fallen snow still clings to the trees: that startling white against a blue-black bruise of clouds.
I watch a squirrel diligently disinterring a walnut from the frozen earth and think, no. I identify with the crow, its harsh denunciations.
Yesterday’s snowfall has been sleeted and rained on, turning the hollow from a soundproofed room into an echo chamber for traffic noise.
The morning after the end of deer season and an inch and a half of new snow covers the evidence—the gut piles, the trails of blood and hair.
The sun is a bright nipple in milk-white clouds. On the ground, a new, thin fur—what deer hunters like to call a good tracking snow.