Snow. A male cardinal lands in a birch tree, and the woods behind him suddenly seems so much whiter. Finches ride tall weeds to the ground.
Barely audible over the stream: claws on bark, slow footsteps. A porcupine’s round shadow crosses the yard and squeezes under the porch.
Up too early, I’m greeted by a new darkness, the snowpack reduced to a tiny patch on the driveway. The gurgle of water. White noise of wind.
Ground-level clouds appear and disappear in the half-dark; even the thermometer is fogged up. Over the roar of the stream, a robin’s song.
A 30-second downpour, followed by a flash and a rumble. A white-throated sparrow ventures three notes of his allegedly sorrowful song.
Trains going through the gap sound close: rain’s on the way. A pileated comes yelling into the yard just as the first drops begin to fall.
A clear sunrise, and every twig and blade of grass still wearing its coat of ice. Two titmice drone back and forth amid the glitter.
I take the measure of the ice storm by ear: no cracks or crashes. The wind-rocked branches sound the way I feel—tired, creaky in the joints.
It’s sleeting: a harsh whisper, nothing but occlusives. After ten minutes of no other sound, a crow calls. Scattered chirps from the feeder.
After rain and cold, the snow is reduced to a thin crust on top of the leaf litter. It shatters with every waking footstep of the deer.