It’s our local Christmas Bird Count, so every drip of cold rain or moving shape off in the fog might be a bird. But none are.
Warmish and almost sunny, with mist between the trees. The chickadees and wrens are denouncing something hidden in the small hollow maple.
I’m reading about the haiku poet who helped lead the Rape of Nanjing. Snow melt begins to drip from the top roof: muffled artillery fire.
The scrabbling of squirrel claws on black locust bark: someone’s in heat. The shadow of a porch column crosses my face: it must be noon.
The wind sounds even colder hissing through the leaves that still cling to an oak at the woods’ edge. I pull down my cap against the sun.
In the red center of a berry-laden barberry bush, a male cardinal turns all about, gorging. When he flies, so much of its red goes with him.
On the snow-covered log beside the stream, the baby’s-handprint tracks of raccoons. A wren above the water burbling in counterpoint.
In one direction, the waxy chatter of goldfinches; in the other, a mob of crows. I go in before the sun comes out—my legs are too cold.
The ground is once again white, and there’s a wind. A dry, brown oak leaf dropping from the sky rocks from side to side like a small boat.
Half a degree above freezing, but it’s enough to melt last night’s snow everywhere the weak sunlight reaches. Quiet but for the trains.