In the stillness, the rasp of squirrel teeth. Then the hollow thonk, thonk of a dropped walnut hitting the limbs of an oak on its way down.
A fresh inch of snow. In the weak sunlight and bitter wind, three juncos huddle in a barberry bush above the stream, taking turns to drink.
The same sort of day as yesterday, but so many more bird calls! A chipmunk emerges and goes on an inspection tour of the old stone wall.
The cloud ceiling—as meteorologists call it—grows thin, judging by the sun’s intensifying glow. Agitated song sparrows chirp back and forth.
Saturday sounds from down-ridge: crows, a chainsaw snarling and muttering, a pack of dogs—or is it wild geese, somewhere above the clouds?
As the sunlight advances, the frosted yard turns from glitter to glisten. The barn-red cardinal’s inexplicably cheerful two-note tune.
The stream gurgles like a bird: two ways at once. On the far side of a snag, a knock I take for a woodpecker, though it could be anyone.
Winter’s back. You can see it in the dash of snow and thick crust of clouds, hear it in the train’s horn and the querulous cries of crows.
The woods after a rain, when branches have dried but trunks and limbs are still damp: kirei na kanji, as they say in Japan. A clean feeling.
The earth is brown again, and the hillside hidden in fog. A one-minute rain shower. Nuthatches chatter. The sun makes a bleary appearance.
Low, gray clouds, and the ground half-brown after a day and night of melting. Over the rumble of my furnace I hear a screech owl trilling.
Just above freezing but it feels like a day at the beach—sun on white sand, a steady breeze, the surf-like hiss of pines, a jay for a gull.
From the other house, the squeak of a cloth on window glass. Juncos forage under the crabapple. The thermometer inches up toward unfreezing.
A tangle of tracks in the yard: rabbit, cat, squirrel, mouse… I’m not picturing a children’s book, but each creature fearful and alone.