Rain on asphalt shingles, rain on corrugated tin, rain on twigs and branches, rain on the road, rain on three months’ worth of grainy snow.
Both ridges vanish into fog. A squirrel missing the end of its tail disinters a black walnut from the frozen earth.
A red-tailed hawk dives at a squirrel just as I come out. Then woodwinds: a V of geese followed by tundra swans. The first killdeer’s cry.
The Cooper’s hawk lands in the yard and the doves scatter—a cacophony of flutes. He flies off east where the icy snow is a blaze of white.
After yesterday’s melting, the snowpack is a maze of wrinkles. The ridge turns orange. A hundred robins appear in the yard.
Overcast at sunrise. The cak-cak-cak of a Cooper’s hawk beginning to think about courtship and nesting, somewhere up in the snowy woods.
Snowstorm. The hammer-blows of a pileated woodpecker on what must be a very hollow dead tree. How annoyed I’d be if it were a human sound!
Bone-achingly cold. A squirrel navigating the tulip tree walks on the undersides of snowy limbs. Sunrise stains the western ridge blood-red.
Large, compound snowflakes drifting this way and that. A titmouse suddenly begins darting after them, hovering and diving like a flycatcher.
Four more inches of dry powder. The stream has shrunk to the thinnest black ribbon between white cliffs—a body that refuses to be buried.
Fine snow is falling, an hour before sunrise. Dogs start barking in the distance, and after a while a coyote answers—one long, wavering cry.
The least gloomy morning in more than a week—and also the coldest. A single-prop plane goes in and out of sunlight, trailed by its sound.
Freezing rain past, there’s a steady rattle from the woods as the ice cladding shatters, like a glass house casting stones at itself.
Five doves sit motionless in the crabapple. The drumming of a pileated woodpecker seemingly in response to metallic banging from the quarry.