An aging contrail stretches toward a sun half-hidden by cloud—fuzzy point at the end of an exclamation mark. Three crows take their argument elsewhere. The furnace under the house shivers to life.
Bitter cold—and the silence that comes with it. I can hear a squirrel’s claws on bark halfway up the ridge. A raven croaks twice.
A scurf of snow on the ground. A few fat clouds, barely moving, turn orange. A lone crow in the treetops coos like a dove.
Gray and windy. The cedar tree moans against the house. A tulip poplar seed capsule comes spinning in and lands on my shoulder.
Another still, cold sunrise. I watch Venus creeping through the crown of a black locust, dwindling to a point that finally vanishes behind a flotilla of small clouds.
Cold and still for the opening day of rifle season. Distant booms set the crows off. The sun is a bright smudge in a sky more white than blue.
Overcast but bright. I watch small flocks of birds move through the tops of the birches: juncos, kinglets, goldfinches, each skeletal crown studded with winged jewels.
Blue-gray layered with yellow-orange a half hour past sunrise. The creek is still singing about Tuesday’s rain, and the one oak at the woods’ edge that always holds onto its dead leaves hisses in the wind.
Wet and overcast at sunrise. The forest floor with its carpet of leaves almost glows for a minute or two before subsiding into ordinary brown.
Dawn. A rustle in the leaves as bits of ice and half-frozen raindrops begin falling from the sky. From the lilac, the ticking of a wren.
Crystal-clear and very still at dawn. A last meteor disappears into the spreading spill of light on the eastern horizon.
Waiting for the sun as the western ridge turns from pink to orange to yellow. The plastic flamingo in my garden is furred with frost.
A few degrees above freezing. In the half dark I can just make out a spider descending from the rafters into my lap. Where is she off to, I wonder, so late in the year?
Venus like a searchlight through the bare trees. A great-horned owl calls on the far side of the ridge, but gets no response. He tries again. Silence.