Bitter cold. A loud creaking from the edge of the woods, as if from an unlatched door swinging in the wind. Snow cover thin as a ghost.

The precipitation changes minute by minute: snow, sleet, drizzle. From the neighbor’s house, the peremptory snarls of a reciprocating saw.

The trees beyond the feeder are dotted with small birds watching every movement of the sharp-shinned hawk as it picks lice from its wings.

A quarter-inch of snow makes the woods much whiter than it would’ve in December, before the leaf duff had been flattened by an icy iron.

Quiet at mid-morning. The sun’s a faint smudge. I hear a caroling from inside the house: a friend calling to tell me it’s snowing there.

Back to brown, except for the ribbon of snow left by the plow. The hungry cat creeping across the yard freezes at every rustle of the wind.

Fog drifts through the woods where rain has reduced the snow to archipelagos. Overhead the clouds, too, are breaking up. Low-flying geese.

Warm and windy. I’ve been staring at the same dim star for five minutes now. The roaring on the ridge drowns out every other sound.