As bright as the sun seems, shining through thin cloud, there are almost no shadows. A song sparrow sits in a spicebush, looking all around.
A new addition to the forest’s ensemble of creaks. The drumming of two pileated woodpeckers a quarter mile apart, fast as machine gun fire.
The top of a dying red maple has been blown down across my walk. The wind raises a zombie army of leaves to go staggering over the snow.
Snowflakes streaming past the house like commuters, the sun almost out, the meadow’s white fur from last night’s cold front almost all gone.
Last night’s ice has melted, but the rain continues. A song sparrow sits in the barberry bush, gorging, emitting a chirp after each berry.
Cold and gray. A mixed flock of winter birds moves through the yard, twittering in apparent excitement over tiny seeds and frozen insects.
Staccato sounds: the distant drumming of a pileated woodpecker, a white-breasted nuthatch’s agitated call, rain tapping on the roof. Again.
At dawn, that bright smudge in the clouds must be Venus, just above the trees. From the far end of the field, a single hoot: barred owl.
My partner and I argue about whether the dull gray sky looks slightly bluer between the ridge-top trees. I coin the word “hablucination.”
One mound of November’s snow has survived into 2019. I’m watching a brown creeper but hearing a nuthatch—and all the voices of the stream.