Bitter cold. A garlic mustard skeleton hanging over the small hole in the yard that goes down to an underground stream is shaggy with frost.
Very cold and still. Just when I think the birds will never wake, the clouds redden a little and a nuthatch fires up its querulous engine.
Cold and quiet. A junco foraging in the stiltgrass chirps after every beakful. A five-squirrel parade snakes past the yard: mating season.
The first flakes, fine as flour, from a dull gray sky: far edge of the predicted blizzard. A silent crow flies over. A woodpecker knocks.
Zero degrees. Sun through bare branches—a shining fur of hoarfrost. Two ravens fly in low and circle my mother’s house.
Half a moon slowly floating to the top of the tall tulip poplar. The lights of a jet with its roar a quarter of the sky behind.
From the snowy woods, a call I don’t recognize—Avian? A predator?—with a note of complaint: I’m hungry. It’s cold.
Clear and still, with yesterday’s snow still clinging to the trees. Bergamot seedheads sport wizards’ caps. Crows yell about the sunrise.
A warmer morning, and all the birds are calling: Carolina wren, robin, crows, a flicker. Squirrels chase back and forth across the snow.
The coldest morning of the year so far. Every few minutes, a tree with ice in its heartwood cracks like a gunshot. The ridge turns pink.
Clear and cold: -16C/3F. Two white-breasted nuthatches exchange notes. The smoke from my chimney slinks along the ground toward the south.
Bright sun with a few clouds. Snowflakes wander this way and that like terranauts among the trees.
The sun rose before I did, turning every snowbound tree into a gnomon. The tall pines are soughing, though my breath rises straight up.
Windy and overcast at moonset, at dawn. Just when I’m thinking it’s unremittingly bleak, the gray sky acquires the faintest hint of pink.