Rain and fog. A robin drops into the barberry bush, tut-tutting. Up in the woods, two deer stand with their heads buried in the soft snow.
When angels announce the coming of spring, they use flutes: faint calls of tundra swans filter down from above the rose-tinged clouds.
Clear, cold, and very quiet. A distant train whistle is picked up and repeated by a screech owl. The incremental progress of the moon.
An hour before dawn, the new-fallen snow glows yellow with the light from town. The crescent moon appears through a hole in the clouds.
6°F. A patch of weeds furred with hoarfrost alerts me to a hole in the yard I didn’t know about: a burrow? An underground spring?
Keening moans from the hole in the big walnut tree. Then snarls: a squirrel rockets out, falls to a lower limb. The moans grow louder.
Fire engines wailing through the gap, air horns, the frantic melisma of ambulances. The wind blows snow against my cheek—pinpricks of cold.
It’s snowing. A pileated woodpecker drums twice in Margaret’s yard: a resonant timpanum. Then sleet: rapid brushes on a taut skin.
A squirrel chased off the bird feeder races all the way to the dead elm in my yard, where it sits perfectly still for the next ten minutes.
Cold, clear, and still. Three dark silhouettes of deer half-running, half-dancing through the laurel with the sun-flooded powerline beyond.