An hour before dawn, I sit motionless, watching Venus climb slowly through the leaves of an oak, dazzling first my right eye, then my left.
A strong gust of wind brings a red oak leaf into my lap. I watch high-flying leaves cross paths with a flock of waxwings.
Wind and rain. On the ornamental cherry tree beside the porch, fat drops dangle from the bare spots between yellow-orange leaves.
White sky, white noise from the highway over the ridge. The goldfinches wake all at once, a querulous babble of squeaky wheels.
Rain drumming on the roof. A single bar of white-throated sparrow song, and then the factory whistle dividing the dawn from the day.
A pair of ravens fly low over the house, invisible in the fog. I’m lost in thought about trickster gods, and right on cue: Arrk! Arrk! Arrk!
My left thumb itches, but nothing wickeder than a nuthatch materializes. The sun comes up.
White on green: the lilac bush heavy with yesterday’s snow. Chickadees bicker, working out a pecking order that will last until spring.
A doe trailed by a scrawny 5-point buck. The soundtrack includes a train, a raven, geese, a wren, and a low-flying plane with a wide eraser.
Dawn finds the first snow — a faint dusting. It’s very still. Down in the pines, a screech owl quavers. The slow footfalls of a deer.