Over the dawn fusillade of woodpeckers, I hear the distant gobbles of a turkey. Five deer graze below the house. The doves make moan.

Still cloudless, but the light lacks the crystal-clarity of previous mornings. Juncos all a-twitter, perhaps feeling the pull of the north.

Fresh from their beds, two deer come out of the woods and stand blinking at the new green grass. One scratches her belly with a hind foot.

Cool morning of a day forecast to be warm. The sun turns daffodils, red maple blossoms, and the silver fur of the willow into stained glass.

Clear and quiet. Off in the woods, the jagged pine snag gleams yellowish-white, as if in imitation of the lightning bolt that killed it.

Clear, and four degrees below freezing. I watch the sunlight descend a tall tulip poplar and try to block out the sound of morning traffic.