Dawn. A Carolina wren drops like a ninja from its roost in the old hornets’ nest. The sky between the ridgetop trees turns to blood.
A little less gray today. A bright patch appears above the ridge and sinks toward the horizon, as if the sun had decided to go back to bed.
Gray. A rattle of sleet not in the forecast seems somehow illicit—as if the power of authorities to control borders extends to the heavens.
Foggy and damp. Small flies—or large midges—drift back and forth. A few branches high in the big tulip tree appear to be freshly debarked.
Hoarfrosted grass glitters in the sun. A nuthatch calling up in the woods sounds more certain than I’ve ever felt about anything in my life.
A corvid morning: crow, raven, and jay under a heavy gray sky. The half-cooing, half-scolding sound of gray squirrels in courtship.
A dark dawn. The sound of water gurgling off to the right and trickling to the left, and in front of me the silence where it flows underground.
A few snowflakes wander to and fro in the wind. From the flooded patch of ground next to the springhouse, the scattered chirps of birds.
Another cold, dark morning. At the woods’ edge, a sharp-shinned hawk stands still with its freshly killed prey, as if catching its breath.
Windy and overcast. Bare branches sway and clatter. The scattered chirps of small birds gusting toward the feeders at the other house.
The fog slowly thins, revealing gray-green patches of rejuvenated lichen on tree trunks and limbs. The year pivots on its hinge.
Out before dawn, I watch Venus rising through the trees, bright as a searchlight. The distant gargle of jake brakes from the interstate.
A gray squirrel runs along the gray road bearing a freshly dug-up walnut. High in the blue, a jet’s contrail is short enough to be a tail.
Clear and cold. Blazing through a forest’s worth of treetops, the rising sun looks feathery, a bit disheveled.