Two nuthatches trade insults from adjacent trees, yelling through their noses like warring doormen in their blue-gray livery.
The wind no longer howls, but now the merest breeze provokes a chorus of moans and shrieks. The oaks are finally almost all naked.
Sometime in the night the rain stopped, the temperature edged above freezing, and all the new armor fell from the trees. Snow in the air.
Quiet except for the distant moan of a truck’s brakes and the staticky sound of sleet, giving way to a heavier ordnance of freezing rain.
Scarlet oak leaf: blown sideways, it still manages to get a few spirals in. Bluejay: it takes me a second to recognize its solitary note.
Rising late, I get a faceful of sun. I watch the resident naturalist’s blaze-orange vest and cap appearing and disappearing among the trees.
“Crepuscular”: such a weird word, conjuring up ancient forests, twisted mossy forms. Not this dawn, filled with the noise of trucks.
To see the sunrise, I have to walk to the edge of the porch and look west: red ridge, the gibbous moon high overhead, a pair of ravens.
Shifting patterns of gray in a sky that has just stopped raining. A crow caws seven times. Suddenly everything acquires an orange tint.
—Every season is deer season; this is the opening day of rifle season. —Where are the rifles, then? —Zipped up in their cases, staying dry.
Clear, cold and very still. Sun in the treetops. A black cat steals out from underneath the porch and sets off all the squirrel alarms.
Last night, the ground sparkled; now it’s the color of moonlight forgotten by the moon. A chickadee lands on the lawn and has a taste.
Titmice and chickadees inspect the lilac, which lost half its leaves overnight. Déjà vu: they were in my dreams, these birds. These spirits.
Something approaches at a slow shuffle, gray in the gray light: porcupine. He threads the thistle patch, squeezes under the porch.