Leap day. The sun comes out while snowflakes still circle the house. Around the old ruin of a dog statue, daffodils’ green fingertips.
A fresh dusting of snow slowly vanishes—but if the sun has a tongue, the breeze has a bite. The methodical taptaptap of a downy woodpecker.
The ground is white again, and the shape of the wind sketched out by flying flakes. A tree sparrow sings, homesick perhaps for the tundra.
Thick fog: soundproofing against all but the closest chirps. A nuthatch descends a locust trunk, does an about-face, and scuttles back up.
The corrugated steel roof over the heating oil tanks registers a small shower I might’ve otherwise missed: soft taps, a scattering of dots.
Scattered honks from an unseen traffic of geese above the clouds. It’s warm. The mourning doves are finishing each other’s sentences.
Squirrel claws scrabbling on bark; song sparrow songs. The sun gleams on the glossy black wings of a vulture skimming the treetops.
A jet drags a vestigial contrail through the treetops, its roar far behind in the great blue bell which, by cliché, this clarity resembles.
Palefaced sky with its one glowing orifice. The woodpeckers are busy with surgeries, removing delicious infestations from limb after limb.
At blue noon the wailing of fire engines. Mountain laurel leaves gleam in the sun. A cold ladybird’s slow plod.
Under a low, dark cloud ceiling, the echoing call and response of two mourning doves. A quiet gurgle from the stream. Not a breath of wind.
Warm sun, soft shadows. Two red-bellied woodpeckers: one trills, the other rasps. I think of Ecclesiastes: “But the earth abideth forever.”
An almost-out sun slowly erases the morning’s hoarfrost, except on the stream banks, where ferns of ice still hang over the dark water.
Cold, with an icy breeze that creeps under both my hoods. A dusting of snow. The distant sound of a door slamming shut.