The sound of steady rain unmediated by leaves. Civilization is reduced to a distant rumble. Tree trunks break out in patches of lichen.
Dismal and cold, like a November day—except for the daffodils, the field sparrow’s rising trill, the red maple blossoms about to burst.
A pair of phoebes flutter under the porch eaves, see me and the dog and retreat to a nearby branch. The first daffodils nod in the breeze.
In the steady rain, a winter wren sings his summer song at the woods’ edge; on a log over the creek; in the heart of the gold-budded lilac.
Cold rain and fog. A flock of grackles wheels low over the house—the sudden waterfall sound of their wings all turning at once.
Colder than yesterday, but the last bones of snow still didn’t survive the night. A chipmunk takes fright, tail up like an exclamation mark.
Bluebird. Wild turkey. The first phoebe’s soliloquy. Eventually he rounds the house and hovers under the porch roof, bill snapping on a fly.
Warm sun and an inversion layer bringing traffic noise from over the ridge. Cardinals and titmice compete with the whine of truck tires.
Cloudless and still. As the thermometer needle inches past freezing, the first bluebird of spring warbles once up by the barn.
Bright sun, bitter wind. With the snow almost gone, the neighbors’ chickens must be out of their coop: the rooster crows and crows.
Sunlight at half-strength on the half-gone snow. Behind the house, a squirrel twists and rubs itself ecstatically against a rotten stump.
Wet snow clings to every branch and twig, making the forest look almost as inviting as it does in early May when the leaves are half open.
Thick fog, and the road gray with sleet that fell in the night. Three red-bellied woodpeckers are whinnying back and forth in the treetops.
I take off my hat to sunbathe as icicles drop, turning the roof toothless. The brass section tunes up: jay, cardinal, song sparrow.