Cold and gray. A commotion of wings by the springhouse where breakfast eludes a Cooper’s hawk. He sits in the crabapple ruffling his feathers.
Mid-morning. A large cloud over-brimming with golden light serves as ambassador for an advancing army of gray.
Crystal-clear. As the temperature climbs and the snowpack softens, the sun’s glare softens a little, too. A large winter gnat sails past.
After yesterday’s melting and last night’s rain, it feels like March. A pileated woodpecker drums on a resonant specimen of the standing dead.
Another clear, cold sunrise urged on by nuthatches and titmice. As the western ridge turns red, a pileated woodpecker chimes in.
Scattered snowflakes like free-range musical notation for scattered chirps—chickadee, nuthatch. A hint of sunrise fading from the clouds.
Not as cold—nor as clear. A song sparrow runs through his repertoire at half volume and double speed, as if rehearsing.
As the sun rises, it descends from icy treetops to hoarfrosted lower branches. It’s quiet. The dial thermometer’s pointer jumps from 8 to 10.
Clouds going from pink to orange to yellow as the sky turns paler blue, all to the sound of running water and the whistling of doves’ wings.
Dawn, and all the stream’s voices are raised. A squirrel finds a black walnut sticking out of a snowbank and races off with it.
Cold but not freezing mizzle. Two pileated woodpeckers work the woods’ edge, tilting their heads to the side between taps. A flock of juncos.
8:13. All sensible groundhogs are asleep. A sliver of sun through ridgetop trees. I look behind me at the side of the house: a faint shadow.
With crows about, a raven skulks through the pines, talking with its mate in sotto voce rattles. They fly over the porch with labored wingbeats.